Following the arrest of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, the country saw a few sporadic “Free-HH” protests for which the Inspector General of police Kakoma Kanganja did not hold a press briefing to condemn, as he was still nursing his own personal condemnation from the international community and local NGOs over the manner in which his officers raided HH’s house.
The ruling party, using various platform, equally took a swipe at Kanganja, accusing him of exposing President Edgar Lungu to obvious danger during the presidential motorcade incident that bore HH’s treason charge in Mongu on April 8, 2017.
Several PF youths called for the removal of Kanganja, saying Kapeso was best suited for the police top job, as he was less tolerant of opposition political parties.
Kapeso whose office is based in Choma reacted with a sharp and public criticism of his Livingstone based deputy commanding officer for “having a soft spot for the UPND”, after the opposition party successfully conducted a peaceful “Free HH” protest in the tourist capital.
“Firstly, the local command in Livingstone should be scolded and scolded in the strongest terms for allowing UPND cadres reach the police station with their placards without being arrested or dispersed. I am highly disappointed with the leadership of the deputy officer commanding, Mr. Makanga for having a soft spot for the opposition,” Kapeso said in a statement which was distributed to the media.
He then instructed police officers to use “reasonable force” in dealing with the opposition party members and to show allegiance to President Edgar Lungu; attracting kudos from the PF brute-force wing.
In his latest orders, which by far surpasses the aggression exerted by his Lusaka Province counterpart Nelson Phiri who is superintending over HH’s custody, Kapeso has directed all police officers in southern province to be in full riot gear tomorrow and be ready for a showdown with UPND supporters.
“All police officers in Southern Province are hereby directed to be in full riot attire and be ready to confront and neutralize any form of violence in their districts without fail,” said Kapeso.
“All members of the public who desire to live in peace, am asking them to stay away from violence if they value their lives. Tomorrow is seen as a litmus test for the police in Southern Province.”
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Yesterday, Lusaka recorded a fierce inferno that gutted 120 shops at Kamwala shopping centre, an incident which the PF say was an act of arson by the UPND aimed at mounting pressure on the government to release their incarcerated leader.
Earlier yesterday, a police officer died in a road traffic accident involving the presidential motorcade, following a tyre burst.