Fifteen Patriotic Front cadres Wednesday night beat up a UPND supporter at Sinda Police Station around 22:00 hours.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner Sharon Zulu has confirmed the incident in an interview, saying only two officers were on duty and they could not do anything.
“It’s a case of assault received from Rabson Banda, aged 45 years old, of Nyanje compound in Sinda that he was being followed all the way from Chibuyu ward where they are having those by-elections by a group of about 15 PF cadres as he was driving coming towards town. When he saw that they were following him, he decided to drive to the police yard for safety and they continued following him. They got hold of him and started beating him. This happened on 18th April 2018 at about 22:00 hours at Sinda police station,” Zulu said.
“No arrests have been made. The two officers who were at the inquiry when the victim was rushing for rescue couldn’t identify them because none of these PF cadres were from Sinda. And we are talking of about 15 of them versus two police officers who were at the inquiry. One was in the inquiry, the other one was in the office of the CID where he was writing. So, they were also taken by surprise and by the time they realised somebody was being beaten within their yard, it was too late and they couldn’t even do anything.”
She described the vehicle which the PF cadres were using.
“The victim was using a vehicle, which we have not yet identified and he was alone in the vehicle. About 15 PF cadres were using a [Toyota] Hilux with green labels written PF and an unregistered Noah mini-bus grey in colour,” said Zulu.
Meanwhile, former Sinda MMD member of parliament Levy Ngoma, who is now UPND chairman for agriculture, also narrated how he and other members of the UPND were attacked in a separate incident.
“Yesterday, we were there to have accreditation for party officials and accreditation for polling agents. So when we went to Sinda council to do our accreditation, because that is where the accreditation is taking place, the council chairperson Mr Michael Phiri drove out of the council [and] went to a lodge known as Chonchi lodge where the PF team have put up a command centre. That is where their campaign centre is [and] that is where all these ministers, district commissioners and all these other officials are spending their nights. So as he was driving back in a tinted vehicle, he came with PF thugs right inside his vehicle and they got out of the vehicle. Those guys were fully armed with fire arms, catapults, sticks and pangas (machetes). So they got into another vehicle and charged to where I was standing. They drove wanting to hit at me using the vehicle at a very high speed,” he narrated.
“So I didn’t know what was happening. So with our team whom we had gone with for accreditation, immediately we knew that here, our safety is in danger. That is how we scampered in the bushes behind the council. So after some time, the police got wind of it. They came to the scene and spoke to the PF officials as to why such a thing was happening. The PF said we are angry. That was the report they gave to the police. ‘We are angry because the United Party for National Development has written a letter of complaint against the district commissioners who are here’. So this is what has agitated the situation,” Ngoma narrated.
He alleged that the PF supporters were agitated by the complaint letter which he and his team wrote to the conflict management committee that the DCs were abusing public resources.
“So we told them that that does not hold. Fair enough, when we were scampering, one of our party officials was injured. He was hit on the hip and medical report was gotten. The last incident happened around 22:00 hours. After we came back from our activities in the field, we normally do what we call the post-mortem of the issues. After that, we said ‘let’s go to our various localities’. So that is how I released my land cruiser to carry some officials so that they could be dropped to their locations whilst I was following behind. When we reached a lay-by at Kawalala village, we saw two vehicles of the patriotic front. The PF thugs armed came out and started firing in the direction of my vehicle,” said Ngoma.