HAKAINDE Hichilema has charged that there is full blown State-sponsored terrorism in Zambia.
He criticised Saturday’s cruel ‘arrest’ of a Choma-based UPND member, Tom Silwiindi by gunmen.
Hichilema, the UPND leader, said there were political criminals who were collectively masquerading as a political party.
“I saw this thing coming. In 2012, 2013, I talked about militias and these are the militias that we talked about. PF militias!” Hichilema told journalists at his residence in Lusaka yesterday.
“But [they are in a] very small number. Release Tom Silwiindi and stop attacking other people.”
He said it had become necessary to address a very serious situation in Zambia that had been evolving overtime and it’s now fully blown.
“This is the issue to do with State-sponsored terrorism, State-sponsored violence. Thugs are terrorising our country, in the name of the ruling party – the PF,” Hichilema charged. “[They are] masquerading as government officials. We have been talking about violence orchestrated by a small number of those that are hiding behind the cover of public office.”
He underscored that PF-orchestrated thuggery in markets, bus stops/stations, taxi ranks and other public spaces must be stopped.
“Citizens cannot tolerate violence anymore that is orchestrated in specific locations of certain towns. Certain towns have specific locations where citizens are not allowed to go there, if they are not PF thugs,” he said. “In Lusaka here we have a place called Kamugodi (around Soweto area) where citizens are taken to when they are abducted from the compounds, from the streets.”
Hichilema explained that people were being abducted simply for holding a different opinion from those that were in the PF or occupying public office.
“People are taken to Kamugodi and they are tortured there and many times people have talked about Kamugodi. But the police have failed to move in to shut that place,” Hichilema complained. “There are other such places on the Copperbelt and other places in the country. This must stop immediately because citizens need freedom. No one should be brutalised in the market, at the bus stop and station and at the taxi ranks. Those are public places.”
Hichilema further reiterated that political violence was orchestrated by the top leadership of the PF.
He noted that if those occupying the presidency, ministerial positions were not benefiting from violence, “they could have shut places like Kamugodi a long time ago.”
“There is a trend now where citizens are not just harassed but they are abducted in the night, abducted in the day, from any place – including from a safe place we call a home,” Hichilema said.
“How can this be a country we can safely raise children in? What are we teaching our children? This must stop forthwith.”
He explained that the Hatembo family in Choma, which had initiated a farm ownership dispute with him, were being harassed by PF operatives for refusing to appeal, after it lost the matter in court.
“This family has had some of its members attacked by PF thugs from Lusaka, sent by this brutal regime. What sort of hatred is this? What is it that they want from HH?” he said. “The family withdraws the appeal and these brutal people are not satisfied. They now start pursuing the family. They attack members of the family, beat up a woman in a Mang’unza village in Mapanza (Choma). She ended up in Macha hospital. They are also attacking relatives of this family, to force them to continue with the court matter.”
He said the new phenomenon around those abductions was to now threaten and beat up the Hatembo family members and: “hunt them down.”
“This must stop! Are you looking for HH? I’m here. Leave the Hatembo family alone. The Hatembos are running away from thugs orchestrated by this woman, a few elements in the PF,” he said. “A young Tom Silwiindi man was abducted from his house in Choma because of this colossal hatred driven woman said so. Armed robbers masquerading as police men abducted him in full view of his wife and his children.”
Hichilema also said; “if Tom dies, the State and their thugs would have killed him.”
“For what crime? Because somehow he is connected to the Hatembos, somehow it’s alleged that he is the one telling the Hatembos not to appeal the [farm] matter. This is called State-sponsored terrorism,” Hichilema said.
He wondered which professional police could act like the “armed robbers” who abducted Silwiindi.
“I’m appealing to families that have had their members abducted to come forward, to notify us, because we want to take stock of such citizens who are being harassed and begin to support them in a legal way and also to ask the public to begin to protect each other,” said Hichilema.