UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says among the things that his party regrets in 2017 is its failure to protect citizens from police brutality.

And Hichilema says he has given marching orders to his party officials to embark on a vigorous mobilisation exercise in order to save the country from destruction at the hands of the PF.

In an interview with News Diggers! Hichilema said it was unfortunate that personally, and his party in general, had failed to protect the lives of people who succumbed to police brutality in 2017, adding that all the other citizens must feel guilty about their failure to protect each other.

The opposition leader vowed that he would never allow the police under the PF government to oppress citizens to death in 2018.

“Yes there are things that we could have done better. There are areas where we failed in 2017. For example, We failed to protect our members and other citizens from the brutal attacks by the PF thugs and the police,” Hichilema said.

He added that it was difficult to protect citizens from the PF brutality because the ruling party did not respect laws.

“We failed because the law is not being respected by those in the PF. The thugs in the PF are failing to oblige themselves to provisions of the law and to give our members the freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of conscious and freedom of movement. That is unfortunately what we failed to do and we failed to do it because the police are unprofessional. A lot of people in the Police Service are being used by the PF to suppress and oppress citizens, that’s very unprofessional,” Hichilema said.

“We don’t expect this to continue in 2018 because the freedoms of citizens have been enshrined in our Constitution and in the Bill of Rights. Beyond that, the freedoms that we enjoy are universal, human rights and freedoms are liberties that are universal. So it is important to note that a lot of our citizens were not able to enjoy these freedoms this year, including the press, including you journalists. So these are some of the things that we want to work on and improve as a party next year.”

He urged the rest of the citizens to feel duty bound to protect each other.

“When I say we failed this year, it’s not just Hakainde who has failed or the UPND members, but all of us as citizens of Zambia have failed to protect each other from the brutal attacks of the PF. I am talking about the thuggery that has been witnessed in the last couple of years, especially 2017. So we don’t expect that to continue in 2018. We must protect each other; we are each other’s keepers and we must not sit aside when the media is being brutalised by the PF thugs and some unprofessional members of the Zambia Police Service. We must not be quiet in 2018 when we see students being brutalised like the ones at the Copperbelt University, we must all come together to protect our Constitution and our laws,” Hichilema said.

Meanwhile, Hichilema said that he and his party had embarked on a vigorous party mobilisation campaign to ensure that the governance of the country operates in an acceptable manner.

“In terms of the party, as UPND, we look forward to a busy 2018. All of our members are being given matching orders to aggressively mobilise our people because we want to see a party which is truly grassroots-mobilised. We have observed that the country is not operating as it should be under the PF failed government. Hence, something drastic needs to happen to save the nation from total collapse,” said Hichilema.

“Lastly, we would like to take this opportunity to state that as a peace loving nation, our citizens who love peace so much will remain committed to the dialogue process that is led by the Commonwealth, but we are not putting any conditions ahead of these talks as others may be doing today because putting any preconditions to a dialogue process is a clear indication that one is not ready for any dialogue at all.”