The United Party for National Development has insisted that it will go ahead to hold a political rally in Kanyama on Sunday, telling police that the reasons for stopping it were not making sense.
Yesterday, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema said the PF would not take away the party’s democratic right to assemble.
“UPND has enough manpower to provide security and ensure that the unstable security situation which the police are referring to does not arise. So we are going ahead with the rally, it is on. UPND and Zambians must be left to enjoy freedom of assembly and association. We will not tolerate the PF’s dictatorial tendencies; these characters do not support democracy in this country and their conduct is a clear message that they are pure dictators and nothing else,” said Hichilema.
“We will not allow the PF of Edgar Lungu to promote dictatorship in a country that has over the years been building its democratic status. Leaving these guys to do as they please will be very detrimental to development.”
And in a response to Lusaka Province Police Commissioner Nelson Phiri, who denied UPND permission to hold a rally, Lusaka Province party chairman Bob Sakahilu said the reasons given by police were not logical.
“We are not convinced with the reason you have given of ‘unstable security situation’ because this is the same reason you have been giving us for the last six months we have been notifying you of our intentions to peacefully demonstrate or hold a rally after the August 2016 elections,” Sakahilu stated.
“If indeed the security situation is not conducive as you have said, we then believe that it is your duty to maintain law and order and to provide security for the residents of Lusaka Province and indeed the country at large so that they can enjoy their freedoms and rights.”
He said police needed to normalize the “unstable” situation so that citizens could enjoy their rights.
“We believe that from the time you started advising us not to go ahead with our above mentioned activities because of the unstable security situation, more than six months have gone by and by now you should have identified the cause or causes of this and dealt with them. Otherwise the situation will remain unstable forever and we shall not enjoy our right to assemble and express ourselves in perpetuity,” Sakahilu wrote.
“We therefore think that the reasons you have advanced are part of the repressive mechanisms by the ruling party to suppress our freedoms and rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution as even alternative dates have not been given. As a party, we have so far put in place enough preparations including security measures to support your office and we therefore pray that your office will find our reasons for working with you to hold our rallies and demonstrations accommodating. Your usual support towards this noble cause shall be highly appreciated.”
And Sakahilu asked police to arrest Kamba for threatening violence.
“We have indicated that one way of making sure that the security concern is addressed is to get rid of the cause of that insecurity. Right now it is clear that the cause is a group of PF Lusaka Province membership; headed by Mr Kennedy Kamba (who we have formally reported to your office) has publicly issued threats of violence against UPND and its members who want to exercise their human rights to assemble and associate. He and his members must then be arrested as they are the cause of the unstable security situation prevailing in Lusaka,” wrote Sakahilu.