(By Oliver Chisenga and Chambwa Moonga)
NATIONAL Democratic Congress political consultant Chishimba Kambwili has urged President Edgar Lungu to leave in 2021 while people are still clapping instead of holding on to office.
Meanwhile, police in Kaputa have denied the NDC a permit to hold a rally in the district on March 3, 2018.
Commenting on the branding of books and calendars with President Lungu’s portrait and the ruling party colours currently being distributed to various schools around the country, Kambwili said it was absurd to see the Head of State’s desperate attempts to cling on to the presidency. But PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza has said the distribution of books and other branded materials was not a campaign but a way of helping the vulnerable in communities.
However, the Roan PF member of parliament lamented that while the NDC’s notifications for meetings were being turned down, the police were allowing the ruling party to have their mobilisation programmes in the same areas.
“When you are willing to go to any lengths to cling on to the presidency, decent men leave whilst the crowd is still clapping. Mr. President, we are being denied police permits wherever we want to convene and execute our democratic right,”
He said the exercise books and other products branded with his face did not hold water anymore as the poor Zambians were already resolved to kick him out of office.
“Despite us notifying the police, our permits are denied. Despite the PF successfully holding meetings in the same districts and provinces we apply to hold ours, we are still denied our democratic right,” Kambwili complained.
“Don’t be scared of a challenge, we can only do better when we are challenged.”
He maintained that he would not allow the PF to continue plundering public resources at the expense of the poor.
Kambwili said regardless of the PF’s “undemocratic schemes to muzzle the opposition”, the NDC would continue growing.
“No matter how many times our permits are denied, Mr President, we will still grow NDC and come out on top. Whether the police choose to deliberately deny us permits in preference for the PF, the damage has already been done. For as long as you have wronged the poor, God will not allow you to continue plundering public resources. Now this is what you call dirty, irrelevant tactics aimed at corrupting the minds of citizens,”
Last Friday, police in Mporokoso arrested three officials from the National Democratic Congress for alleged unlawful assembly. The arrested officials are Joseph Mwamba Chabula, the district Treasurer, Emmanuel Mulenga, the district chairman and Jackson Bwalya Mulenga the district vice chairman for administration.
He said the trio was arrested after they were caught in a party mobilisation programme at a private residence in Mporokoso.
Meanwhile, according to a letter to the NDC signed by Kaputa police station officer-in-charge a Mr K. Mbonge dated February 20, no rallies could be held since the Ministry of Health had not given cleared such gatherings following the outbreak of cholera.
“We have depleted our members as a station or formation as some officers are on leave, others [will be] on study permits by that suggested date,” stated Mbonge.
“The suggested month is also ill-timed as it has a lot of holidays and officers will be busy rehearsing to celebrate Women’s and Youth Day. So, we can’t police you. Having stated our denial reasons, if you are not satisfied with our reply, the office of the provincial police commissioner for Northern Province is open for further clarity.”
He also told the NDC that March 4, on which they intended to hold the rally, was police day and all officers would not be available as they would be celebrating their day in Kasama.
Mbonge also wondered how a political rally attendance was calculated, especially that the NDC launch rally was being proposed to be held in an open place. The NDC, in its notification, had indicated that 350 people, including speakers, were expected to attend the rally.
And reacting to the development, NDC secretary general Mwenya Musenge: “We really don’t know what to do. Whatever we are trying to do is being frustrated! We wanted to launch our party in Kaputa where our officials were arrested. They (police) have given a list of unwarranted reasons…Meanwhile, them [PF] are going round campaigning.”
He said his party had no option but to go to court over police’s continued denial of permits to hold meetings.
“We feel we are being pushed against the wall. I think the international community should come on board. The way Edgar Lungu is taking things, you can’t continue suppressing people because they will erupt and when they erupt, it will be very difficult to contain them,” said Musenge.