[By Chambwa Moonga in Mbala]
HARRY Kalaba has told police in Mbala that the PF will not be allowed to conduct political activities without stern competition.
Meanwhile, the security team for Kalaba, the DP president, overpowered a group of PF cadres who stormed a local radio station in Mbala.
Kalaba had a busy Sunday in Mbala; he visited the police, went to chief Mwamba and then had an interview programme on Luswepo radio.
In the office of Mbala Police Station officer-in-charge, Kalaba told police officers that any attempt by them to unreasonably curtail his political activities would result in a legal suit.
“If you infringe on my human rights, I will sue you (officer-in-charge) in the High Court, in your personal capacity,” Kalaba told the senior cop.
“Ba PF tatwabatine (we shall not fear those in the PF). This is a year for elections and we can’t allow a situation where PF is going round campaigning and yet we should be stopped.”
Kalaba’s remarks were prompted by the female officer-in-charge who told him that his intention to feature on Luswepo Radio should be abandoned, because “for the last few days we have been running trying to stop clashes. I’m on the ground and I know the security situation.”
Kalaba asked: “which clashes? We are a peaceful party!”
The officers insisted that Kalaba could only go to pay a courtesy call on chief Mwamba of the Mambwe people of Mbala district – still under their escort to the distant palace.
Kalaba countered, asking: “why shouldn’t we be on radio, ba officer?”
“If I could resign as foreign minister without fear, why then should I be afraid of PF today? Ba PF should know that tebatufyele (aren’t the ones who gave birth to us) that we should be afraid of them. The radio programme will go on and just go and wear your uniforms, officers.”
The police officers, however, told Kalaba that it was not PF cadres they thought could ruin the security of Kalaba and his delegation.
He answered: “I know you haven’t mentioned the PF. But it’s me who is interpreting and I insist that PF will not do politics alone. Not anymore!”
“We have elections coming and PF should be doing political activities alone? No! The PF is a political party just like the DP. You can’t allow them to be silencing everybody, so that they unfairly win and let our people continue suffering. They have to know that the Democratic Party is not joking,” he said, with poise.
Kalaba later left the police station and drove to Mwamba’s palace.
He was met by the acting chief.
The acting chief told Kalaba that the people there were experiencing: “ubucushi ubwa cila pakucula (suffering beyond suffering).”
“The problem is that even when we complain about the Mbala – Penza road, for example, nothing works out. For now, everybody – whether an adult or a child, is able to see the hardships in our area here,” complained acting chief Mwamba.
“How can an ambulance even come here to get a patient and take them to Mbala General Hospital? The road is terrible! We are facing so many challenges in this chiefdom. Just to have water for drinking, we have to go to either a school or clinic. But communities have no boreholes of their own!”
On his part, Kalaba wondered why the PF was even flaunting itself as strong in an underdeveloped district like Mbala.
When he left the palace, hundreds of chanting DP supporters, who had gathered in a nearby goods shed, demanded that Kalaba addressees them.
Police officers who had trailed him from Mbala ran to stop Kalaba from disembarking from his vehicle.
The unnerved officers told Kalaba not to address the crowd.
He simply went inside the shed and said: “nshikwete permit iya kucita address rally (I don’t have a permit to address a rally)”.
“Since we are law-abiding in the DP, we shall not have a meeting here today,” Kalaba told his dejected supporters.
On the radio interview, Kalaba promised that a DP government would see to it that every province has a tourist attraction.
“In Northern Province, Mbala will be the tourist capital. Once you enhance tourism here, jobs will be created. No one will be leaving this town to go to Livingstone…” Kalaba said.
He reiterated the need to industrialise towns as a way of creating jobs.
As Kalaba was speaking, police fired several warning shots to disperse a rampaging group of PF cadres who descended on Luswepo Radio to stop the live radio programme.
The belligerent PF cadres, clad in their party colours, came to the radio station armed with assorted assault particles.
They first overran the locked main gate to the radio station.
The cadres screamed various insulting words at Kalaba’s security personnel and tried to force themselves into the private-owned radio station.
But the opposition leader’s security fought back and there was a ruthless hit or miss.
The entrance to the radio station was immediately barricaded with this and that, including a conference table.
Kalaba’s security, aided by Mbala DP supporters, then heightened the beating of the PF cadres they isolated, while another team of the ruling party threw stones and other missiles.
Under 10 minutes, armed police officers arrived and there were gunshots – not one, two, three or four but more.
PF cadres, the lucky ones, fearfully jumped over the wire fence around the radio station and took cover.
A pocket of hapless ones was picked by police.
Before long, power supply around Mbala town was cut off, 15 minutes before the scheduled end of Kalaba’s heated radio interview.