(By Oliver Chisenga in Luanshya)
CHISHIMBA Kambwili has vowed to shift his aggression against the ruling Patriotic Front to another level following Luanshya police’s decision to revoke the permit for his thanksgiving rally in Roan on Saturday.
And UPND Copperbelt chairman Elisha Matambo says the union of his party, the National Democratic Congress and other alliance partners continues to be a burning coal in the PF’s boots.
“You cannot fool people all the time, you can only fool them for a short time, search your conscious my dear President [Edgar Lungu] because this is now becoming unacceptable. You have started the same things of stopping us from from addressing our people, ala mwaloba ilyauma imbwili naisa, mulesangana nayo; we will meet you head on. We have shifted our approach to another level,” Kambwili declared.
Addressing the media after police in Luanshya withdrew the permit two hours before the rally, Kambwili said he would not handle the PF government with kids gloves but head on.
“On behalf of our alliance partners the UPND, we are extremely disappointed with the behaviour of the Ministry of Home Affairs through the police. You may wish to know that on the 11th of this month when we won the Roan [parliamentary] by-election, we were supposed to do a road show, drive through Roan Constituency just to thank the residents for giving us the victory but we were stopped by police despite the fact that our colleagues the PF had done the same in Bahati, had done the same in Western Province, had done the same in Kabwe,” Kambwili said.
He said it was unacceptable that the police would be used to muzzle on the rights of the opposition.
Kambwili vowed that his party and other alliance members would not be intimidated by PF.
He swore to grab a bull by its horn in doing what is right for the suffering masses.
“Because we are law abiding citizens we said we should not be in conflict with the police because we knew that what police want is a situation where they cause the confusion themselves, teargas people and probably use live ammunition to shoot some people and then turn around and arrest the organisers,” Kambwili said. “They advised that we apply for two rallies. One in Roan township on Sunday and the other in Mpatamatu on Saturday following the seven-day notice. We argued with the police that why were they giving us seven days’ notice when PF had not but they said how do you know maybe they applied seven days ago…but we were in an election so did PF know that they were going to win for them to apply seven days before? So we however pushed in applications to have two rallies and today [Saturday] we were supposed to have one in Mpatamatu and tomorrow [yesterday] we were supposed to have another in Roan. They agreed and gave us a permit but to our surprise, just about two hours before the rally takes shape, police called the district secretary who had the permit and revoked it saying that they had been instructed to stop the meeting. This is unfortunate and unacceptable in a democracy and as alliance partners, NDC, UPND and other 12 of our colleagues, we will not be intimidated by the behaviour of the police.”
Kambwili however, said the opposition would
at the same time not break the law.
“If the police say stop, we will abide and stop. So they have advised us that we should push in a fresh application although the reasons they gave were very flimsy – that they do not have enough man power to police a rally to be addressed by a party president,” he said. “People of Zambia, we cannot allow President Edgar Lungu and Kampyongo to destroy our democracy. Zambia is a democracy and in a democracy you allow for all stakeholders… but it appears in Zambia that the only two parties that can have meetings are the PF and MMD of [Felix] Mutati while all other political parties are not allowed to have meetings. We are slowly losing the status of multiparty dispensation and going into a one party state.”
Kambwili appealed to Zambians to unite against the brutal regime of President Lungu.
He urged President Lungu to search his conscious.
“I want to appeal to President Edgar Lungu that my brother you must be consistent, that my brother please learn to follow your word…you say one thing and do the opposite, something else. For instance, when [Commonwealth secretary general Patricia] Mrs Scotland came to State House, we saw President Lungu saying here we have democracy and we want people to have free space to practice politics without interference. Is this what you call democracy?” asked Kambwili. “Are you not tired of teargassing and locking up people? Is this the Zambia we aspired for? It’s extremely unacceptable that these things must continue. I want to appeal to the people of Zambia that let’s unite against this dictatorship. Let’s unite against President Edgar Lungu, let’s unite against PF. [Stephen] Kampyongo does not own the country but directing the police to cancel permits is an affront of democracy.”
Kambwili said the scheduled rallies were cancelled at the pleasure of the PF without regard to the NDC’s expenses.
He said very soon NDC would start indicting individual officers who were being used to break the law at will by politicians.
“We will start indicting some people for abuse of authority. Look, you give people a permit as officer commanding for Luanshya and then you are directed to withdraw it because you know that if they sue they will sue the Attorney General. But I can assure you that all these things are on record and all of you who seem to be misbehaving in this manner just know that time for reckoning is coming and all of you will answer in your individual capacities. I hope and trust that my brother President Edgar Lungu as you drink your wine this evening you will think of how unfair you are to all of us,” said Kambili.
And Matambo, the UPND Copperbelt chairman, said there was no devil in hell that would stop the opposition alliance marriage.
He said the withdraw of the permit at the 11thhour was the worst form of abuse of authority by the government using the police.
“Power belongs to the people. Power does not belong to the police or Kampyongo, not even to President Lungu but to the people of Zambia. I want to appeal to the people of Zambia that when time comes we should use our power to remove this regime,” said Matambo. “This is the worst regime we have had since 1964. They don’t feel for others and all they want is to continue stealing and suppressing the people of Zambia. They are very scared. They are not sleeping. And this marriage between UPND and NDC has unsettled them. They don’t want anything between UPND and NDC. UPND and NDC is coming for you, get ready for us. Zambians are coming to reclaim their country and you won’t stop us.”