Police in riot gear yesterday blocked United Party for National Development (UPND) youths in Kabwe from conducting a parallel procession as part of the International Youth Day celebrations.
The police officers. who were led by district deputy commanding officer Martin Moka, blocked Freedom Way to prevent the UPND youths who attempted to march from their party secretariat to Godfrey Ucah Chitalu stadium where the other youths were gathered for the celebrations.
Moka, who had a difficult time explaining to the UPND district leaders why the procession could not be allowed, said it was wrong for the UPND youths to have their own procession long after the rest of the youths had already marched to the stadium.
“The problem is that you don’t want to understand. There was a programme that was issued by the organising committee. Your fellow youths were gathered at the civic centre and after the official opening by the Provincial Minister, they all marched to the stadium. But you decided to shun that event and now you want to have your own march. This is not right,” Moka said.
Moka implored the UPND youth leaders to explain to their colleagues that they would not be allowed to go ahead with the march.
“Just go tell your youths to disperse because we shall not allow them to go ahead with the march. Should they proceed with the march, then, we shall charge them with illegal procession,” said Moka.
And UPND Kabwe District Youth Chairperson Ahmed Lubinga, who later on addressed the UPND youths at the party Secretariat, said he was disappointed with the stance taken by the police to block the youths from going ahead with the march.
Lubinga accused the police of selective application of the law, saying it was their right as youths to celebrate their day.
“We have been celebrating this day as UPND youths from way back but today they are saying we cannot celebrate this day because we are not following the National Programme that has been laid down. They have even deployed Police Officers to block us saying if we march it shall be an illegal procession and we shall be arrested,” said Lubinga.
“We want the Patriotic Front (PF) government to explain why they don’t want us as UPND youths to take part in the march. They failed to provide