If I had known that the [government] event was going to be a PF gathering, I would have stayed away, says Luampa UPND member of parliament Makozo Chikote who was manhandled by ruling party cadres during the commission of Luampa electricity sub-station in his constituency yesterday.
Narrating the ordeal in an interview with News Diggers! Chikote said he almost lost his temper when the cadres harassed him.
“On Sunday I received letters of invitation to the function of commissioning power to Luampa by Her Honour the Vice-President. One invitation was coming from the Rural Electrification Authority, the other one was coming from the District Commissioner’s office. So on Monday, the DC called me and I went to her office and they told me about the program. They said ‘we want you to also be there and give a few remarks before the guest of Honour commissions the sub station,” Chikote explained.
“So on the actual day now as we were waiting for the Vice president to arrive in Luampa on Tuesday, some officials looked at the program and saw that I was expected to deliver a speech. Then they started protesting. They first called the permanent Secretary for Western province saying that ‘there is no way you can put this member of the opposition on the program because these are not HH’s programmes’. That is what I was told in the face, ‘these are not HH’s programs, so you Permanent Secretary you are trying to favour this UPND MP and we don’t know what your interest is. Us as members of the PF we have refused, we don’t want to see him around here’.”
He narrated that when the cadres approached to harass him, police were watching.
“When the Vice-president arrived in Luampa, right at the airport, I was pushed away from the queue so that I don’t welcome the Vice-President with a greeting. I tried to hold my heart. Then we went to the office of the DC where the Vice-President was now in the holding room. That is how a [named] diplomat from Malaysia told the PF cadres to chase me from the event. So the cadres started insulting us, they were also insulting the council Chairperson. Police were there watching. So I almost lost my temper and I told them ‘I didn’t come here for PF function, if you had told me that it was a PF function I wouldn’t have come here and I wouldn’t have even donated my money towards this function’,” Chikote lamented.
“At that time, that is when the provincial Minister for Western province Nathaniel Mubukwanu and Energy Minister David Mabumba came out and they found the fracas outside. I tried to talk to them, I said ‘can you make it clear, if it is a PF function, Minister let me leave’. They said ‘no, let us first talk to these people’ but they never came back to me. We were roughed up here and there. Then the police commissioner for Western Province Mr Zulu came to me and said ‘Mr Chikote, just leave’ that is how I left the venue against my will and against my duties as a member of parliament.”