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All political parties have violent elements – police

THE Zambia Police Service says all political parties have violent elements.

Zambia Police Service spokesperson Esther Mwata-Katongo said politicians are good at twisting information.

She said during ZNBC’s National Watch programme yesterday alongside UPND national youth chairman Gilbert Liswaniso and Patriotic Front deputy media director Antonio Mwanza on the topic “Political Violence”.

Katongo called on political parties to end violence in the country.

“Politicians are very good at twisting information. What happens in Zambia is that whenever there is a criminal act, as police we don’t just move in and pick people, no. We have to do our ground work, our investigation so that we have a case at hand. Now we hear politicians in all angles, that ‘police arrest this one, arrest that one…’ I think by now, you should be accepting as political parties that no political party here will say that they don’t have violence elements in their political parties. By now, we should be looking at what measures we are going to put in place (to end violence),” Katongo said.

When asked whether or not police was being controlled by politicians on who to arrest, Katongo said police officers were guided by the law to execute their operations.

“It is very clear even in the procedural Act, it is stipulated that ours is to ensure that all political parties that are taking part in an election participate in a peaceful environment, they have to enjoy their rights as provided by the Constitution. I can tell you that we are receiving blows from both sides, whether it’s the ruling party or opposition in an event that we have not moved in quickly. We are not being remote controlled; we have got the law which guides police officers on how they are supposed to work. We need help from these people [political parties]…,”

said Katongo.

And Mwanza said there was need for political parties to end violence.

“I want to say that insults and innuendoes are not expected here, and that is why we have political violence. The language is not sober, it is not civil. When you are using innuendoes and insults against your colleague, you are raising emotions of those that follow us. So let us be sober. The President [Edgar Lungu] has made it very clear; he has condemned the political violence which the UPND have not condemned. They always justify that they were defending themselves. We have suspended our leaders who were involved in political violence. We have not protected anyone. Now UPND for instance, they do not have any practical measures to curb political violence…They have to accept that President Edgar Lungu is the Republican President of this country,”

said Mwanza.

But Liswaniso challenged Mwanza to stop defending the PF saying he did not know how violent it was.

He said the 2016 election disputes were the main source of tension and violence in the country.

“I am a victim of the political violence. When you go to police, I have eight medical reports of political violence from PF beating me. We have a lot of casualties among our members who have been beaten by PF supporters. We have seen that the home affairs minister, who is the PF youth chairman, is telling the Zambian people that when police are arresting political leaders, know that I am behind it, he is boasting. Where are we going as a nation? When we talk about violence, for us as UPND, we are saying these people are our opponents, they are the Zambian people…But if I am going to say that Antonio is my enemy, then we are not going anywhere as a party,”

said Liswaniso.

“Now I want to tell Antonio that PF is more violent than any other political party. I had been in PF longer than him, he is still a child in PF, tikambe akali kuvwala diaper.”

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