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Antonio accuses UPND, HH of political violence

GOVERNING PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza says those in the UPND have no moral right whatsoever to masquerade as angels when they are serial offenders of violence.

To buttress his assertion, Mwanza has catalogued a number of violent acts he blamed on UPND supporters.

Over the past week, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s radio interviews, via the phone, in Muchinga Province all faced disturbance by PF cadres.

Recently, Mpika district commissioner Moses Katebe stopped Mpika Community Radio from interviewing Hichilema via phone.

In a statement yesterday, Mwanza stated that what happened in Isoka was wrong and must be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians.

“Government and the Patriotic Front, through Hon. Dora Siliya and deputy secretary general, Hon. Mumbi Phiri, respectively, have unequivocally condemned that unfortunate incident,” Mwanza stated.

He was, however, quick to indicate that the UPND was a violent party that needed to redeem itself from the stain and sin of violence by repenting and reforming.

Mwanza noted that from time immemorial, violence had been a problematic part of Zambia’s politics and that it would take all, “not some of us” to cleanse the country’s politics from such barbaric stain.

He stated that Hichilema and the UPND had no moral right “to cry to the high heavens, condemning others on violence against the media because they are serial offenders in as far as violence and brutality against the media and those who do not agree with them is concerned.”

“To prove my assertion, here are some of the violent trails of UPND: On May 4, 2005, the UPND held a press conference were they launched the infamous Mapatizya formula, a violent and evil plan that involved the beating, maiming and killing of MMD supporters and leaders,” he stated.

“The UPND organised a ‘militia’ that attacked government vehicles, impounded food supply convoys and harassed government ministers and caused wanton mayhem against the MMD camp. The Mapatizya formula that the UPND has continued to use to this day, involves the disregard of the law and the taking of the law in their own hands. It also encourages the use of violence and civil disobedience.”

He stated that on February 6, 2017, PF cadre and first secretary for politics and administration at the Zambian Mission in Brussels, Belgium, Brian Hapunda was brutally beaten by UPND cadres in Nega Nega, (Chikankata district) for merely belonging to the PF.

On May 24, 2006, Mwanza said then minister in the MMD government Vernon Mwaanga and his driver were beaten and assaulted by UPND cadres when they went to deliver a message of condolences at the funeral of UPND founding president, Anderson Mazoka.

“In 2016, in Namwala, PF members were mercilessly attacked by UPND cadres for merely celebrating President Edgar Lungu’s electoral victory. On December 5, 2019 UPND cadres opened fire and shot six PF cadres in Mpulungu,” he stated.

“In 2016, UPND cadres assaulted and crippled Charity Kabongomana, the then FDD parliamentary candidate for Namwala Constituency. On 27 July 2015 UPND cadres went to Cresta Golfview Hotel and brutally assaulted Chilufya Tayali who was having a press briefing there. On October 17, 2018, Chilufya Tayali was again a victim of the UPND’s endemic violent culture when he was beaten by UPND cadres right at the court where he had gone to appear in a case in which Mr Hakainde Sammy Hichilema had sued Tayali for defamation.”

He further stated that on March 28, 2017, UPND cadres harassed and beat up journalists in Silumesi Malumo and Prisccah Lumingu from Radio Phoenix and Millennium Radio, respectively, at the UPND secretariat when the duo went for a media event.

Mwanza also said on Africa Freedom Day in 2015, UPND officials harassed and verbally assaulted Rogers Kalero, a Kitwe-based Daily Nation reporter.

“On 24 May, 2006, a photojournalist from Times of Zambia, Richard Mulonga, was harassed and chased from covering a UPND press briefing at their party secretariat. On March 18, 2016, UPND cadres went to Sky FM Radio in Monze and brutally beat Fr Frank Bwalya who was featuring on a live radio programme. I can go on and on citing evidence of UPND violence but for now this suffices,” stated Mwanza, adding that Hichilema and the UPND ought to be honest about ‘their violent culture.’

“Clearly, UPND have no moral right whatsoever to masquerade as angels when they are serial offenders of violence. [Let them] come forward and hold hands with everyone to help root out the cancer of violence in our politics, instead of trying to come out as angels when they are in fact not.”

Hichilema last week described the PF as little brutal terrorists.

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