POLICE in Ndola yesterday attempted to stop UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from attending morning mass at St Josephs Catholic Church on grounds that he had no permit to attend the service. Meanwhile, St Joseph Catholic Church priest Fr Chewe Mukosa says if people don’t join politics, they allow hooligans to do it. There was panic among plain-clothes police officers to stop Hichilema from entering the Church for the morning mass. Hichilema arrived at St Joseph Church around 09:30 hours but the police officers blocked the main entrance.
The officers then went to the office of the priest where instruction where issued that the opposition leader should not be allowed inside the Church. However, Fr Mukosa said every citizen was free to worship. This time, the officers then gave fresh instructions that Hichilema should not speak or greet the congregation. The instructions were that once mass is over, Hichilema should immediately leave without any interactions with the worshipers. However, after mass, Fr Mukosa defied the police instructions and allowed Hichilema to greet the congregation. Hichilema only thanked the congregates for worshiping with them.
“I thank you for allowing us to worship with you. The father has spoken it all. Thank you,” Hichilema.
The opposition leader’s deputy press secretary Brian Mwiinga later issued a statement saying the officers that Hichilema needed to have police permit for him to attend Church.“The police also instructed the Church that the UPND President should not be accorded a chance to interact with his fellow Christians in Church, nor speak on grounds that he has no permit to do so,” according to Mwiinga, who added that the mass went ahead under strict watch from the Copperbelt and Ndola police command.
And Fr Chewe says he is both a social teacher and a politician.
In his homily, Fr Mukosa said: “People will come and say vote for me. But God has the best manifesto which is practical. Leaders should be servants of the people. Today in Zambia we are hearing so many voices. But let us listen to the voice of Jesus. The voice of God has been infused by many voices.”
“Our politicians in Zambia are like pigs. When a pig is eating, even if you beat it, it will continue to eat. And this is what we do when we lack Jesus Christ,” Fr Mukosa said.
“If you don’t join politics, you allow hooligans to do it. I’m a social teacher both a politician and a teacher. We teach the gospel of Jesus Christ; that is our duty.”
Meanwhile, Hichilema says 2021 tatulefwaya ifyabupuba, nefya buwelewele (foolishness). Hichilema said he does not need a passport to visit the Copperbelt because he was a free citizen. Addressing hundreds of supporters on the outskirts of Ndola in Misundu area, Hichilema said some people were in serious panic because they knew what was ahead of them.
“2021 tatulefwaya ifyabupuba, nefya buwelewele. Let us prepare. Get prepared and protect the vote. Go and vote in numbers. It is you to protect your vote. We can smell the elections in the air. I can smell the elections because the people are upset with high mealie-meal prices,” Hichilema said.
He told the UPND supporters to start mobilising in their houses because the PF would not give them a permit to hold public meetings.
“Let us start work now because we will never be given any chance to meet the people. But as a people, we need to reach a point where we say that is wrong. PF and its surrogates won’t give us any chance to meet. I don’t need a passport to come to Ndola or any part of the Copperbelt. I’m a free citizen. I will come at anytime I want. This is my village,” Hichilema said.
The opposition leader said he has never seen the people of Zambia suffer like this before.
“PF should stop mocking the people of Zambia. I have never seen the people of Zambia suffer like this. This country under PF is beyond redemption. People can’t continue to suffer like this,” he said.
And Hichilema said the UPND has found a new formula of reaching out to the people.
“Ba Ndola, thank you! We now know what the people of Ndola are going through. We have now found a new strategy. We will go to the wards and branches to meet the people. We want to hear what the wards and branches are saying,” said Hichilema.
And Copperbelt UPND chairman Elisha Matambo said there would be serious screening of members that would attend the opposition party’s convention.
“Let me make it clear here. Someone is busy saying that he will dismantle UPND, which UPND? Is he God? Some people should for once be serious. We will screen all those coming for the convention. All those that will attend the convention should look like Hakainde,” said Matambo.