ZAMBIA Police spokesperson Esther Katongo says the Socialist Party did not have a permit for a meeting in Matero which was stopped on Tuesday.
Police raided a house in Matero where a training session for Socialist Party members was in progress, arresting one in the process. Katongo said the meeting and class was disrupted because the party did not notify police of the said gathering. She explained that after police arrived at the said house, Socialist Party members fled and only one person was picked.
Katongo, however, clarified that police did not confiscate any phones from the Socialist Party members as they were picked on site after they fled.
“Members of the Socialist Party did not notify the police that they would be in Matero conducting their party activities. When information reached police, officers went there and the said people ran away. One person was picked while some of those who ran away left three phones on site, which were picked by police. It is therefore not correct to say police confiscated the phones from them because the phones were picked on site. Those claiming ownership of the same phones can go to Matero Police and see the officer in charge. Their phones are there,” Katongo said.
She said the demand by the Socialist Party to release their members was misplaced, and that police did not harass anyone.
“The demand to release the apprehended person is misplaced. The Police are not harassing anyone but what political players should not ignore is that this country is of laws. People should not deliberately abrogate the provisions of the Law and cry victim when officers act. Our job is to enforce the law and we shall do just that,” said Katongo.
After the raid, Socialist Party general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali stated:
“This morning around 10:45, the SP comrades had organised a training session for its members in a home in Matero compound. The police raided the premises. I am informed that two of our comrades have been arrested and items (including a white board, phones and ladies handbags) confiscated. The whole area is now surrounded by the police and people are being harassed and abused. This is unacceptable and unwarranted. As a Party, we reserve the right to operate without harassment. We further demand the immediate release of the arrested comrades and a return of all confiscated items to the owners.”