THE Judiciary has banned cadres from accessing court premises after a scuffle between UPND supporters and police on Thursday afternoon.
And police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo says journalists must start wearing press jackets for easy identification during volatile situations.
Yesterday, police tear-gassed UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, his vice Geoffery Bwalya Mwamba and other party officials within the Lusaka High Court building.
There were running battles between the police and UPND cadres and in the process, Prime TV reporter Kalani Muchima and over 30 UPND cadres were arrested.
This was after the adjournment of a case in which UPND has petitioned the High Court to determine whether their rights were infringed upon when the Constitutional Court dismissed their election petition on a technicality without hearing it.
In a statement, Judiciary chief administrator Nalishebo Imataa announced that cadres were now banned from the court grounds.
“As a result of the above unacceptable behavior by the UPND cadres, the judiciary shall with immediate effect not allow any cadres access to the court premises. Should the directive be disobeyed and cadres find their way into the court premises, the affected cases shall be adjourned to later dates,” Imataa stated.
She stated that several vehicles and High Court windows were broken.
“The judiciary is greatly disturbed by the riotous behavior and damage caused to property and motor vehicles by UPND cadres. The cadres invaded the court premises after the hearing of the presidential petition chamber matter at the High Court. They fought running battles with the police try and have access to the honorable judge’s chamber,” Imataa stated.
“Several motor vehicles belonging to lawyers and a government motor vehicle which belongs to the registrar of the commercial court division had their windscreens shattered. Several doors and windows of the High Court building were also damaged. The riot affected court operations as the entire court premises were engulfed in teargas. Several cadres were arrested.”
And Katongo suggested that journalists must start wearing press jackets for easy identification.
She was responding to queries from journalists who wondered why police also attacked journalists during riots despite showing their identification cards.
“You know, even in war you don’t just go with a camera and hope to be identified by soldiers. We see journalists in vests for easy identification on CNN. By the time I will be looking at your face or I.D, offenders will have bolted. Let us understand each other’s job and understand objectives of each stakeholder involved. It is only then that we will work amicably. To tell you the truth some journalists are too stubborn in such situations. Sorry to say. They want to show as if officers are useless and that they themselves should be seen as heroes. Others go there with a preconceived mind already with a negative attitude towards officers,” said Katongo.