Police in newly created Chifunabuli District of Luapula Province yesterday disrupted three National Democratic Congress (NDC) meetings which were being addressed by Chishimba Kambwili on the basis that President Edgar Lungu would be in the area today.

And Kambwili, who is NDC leader, says President Lungu is a coward who cannot allow other parties to tell Zambians about his thieving as well as sell their manifestos.

Meanwhile, police on the Copperbelt have blocked NDC youths from proceeding with their protests against Chinese firm AVIC International citing security reasons.

In an interview, Kambwili narrated that a horde of police officers disrupted all three meetings despite Electoral Commission of Zambia spokesperson Margaret Chimanse telling police that the meetings were sanctioned by the electoral body.

“We were supposed to have three meetings in Chifunabuli, one at Lubu Mission, one at Mwawa Village and another meeting at Kasaba. When they just heard that we had arrived, we found police from Mansa in OP vehicles who called us and said that we had not gotten a permit. But we told them that there was no need for police permits during campaigns. We notified police of our intentions to have a meeting and they gave us a go-ahead but the officer-in-charge who gave us a go-ahead started lying that he was not told. The same officers told us that because the President is going to be in the area tomorrow (today), we cannot allow you to have meetings today. But I don’t understand what kind of law says that if a President is going to be in an area the following day, all political parties cannot have their public rallies,” Kambwili said.

“At our first meeting at Kasaba, a lot of police came and threatened people with teargas. At the second meeting, police dispersed people with teargas and the same with the third meeting at Lubu Mission. They sent the deputy police commissioner from Mansa Mr Mumbula with over 100 police officers to come and block the meeting…the public relations manager for ECZ also pleaded with them to say ‘please let them go ahead with the meeting’ but the police refused that they had instructions from Lusaka and there is nothing that they could do because they are not the ones who made the decision, that instructions came from Lusaka.”

He complained that the PF was scared of him, and as such, it was not allowing democracy to prevail.

“Now, what kind of democracy is this? We know the tricks of the PF. All they want is for me not to address the people. And I had to plead with the people not to become violent because they wanted to take on the police until they were addressed. There were a lot of people, the rally was going to be very big and the people made it clear that they don’t want PF with its thieving President. Now because Lungu is going to be there tomorrow, they are just scared for me to speak to the people today. And they told me that if I want I can give them notice to have a meeting after seven days but the election is on Thursday, how sensible is that?” Kambwili asked.

“This is very bad and I want to warn President Edgar Lungu that he has been boasting that his party is popular. If his party is popular, why is he blocking others from interacting with the people? Their Vice-President went there, their ministers went there and Lungu is going there tomorrow but they refuse us to go ahead with our meeting. For me, President Lungu and the PF are cowards. They are scared of other political parties giving their manifestos and telling the people who Edgar Lungu and his ministers are,” he said.

“The people are so upset and they are saying that Lungu must not think that we are stupid to announce the floor price of maize at K65 and when there is an uproar, because of elections he says ‘I am going to review the price of maize’. You and I know that all along it is the Minister of Agriculture who announces the price of maize for FRA but this year, because they know the price was low they asked the board chair of FRA to announce so that Lungu can come in and hoodwink the people that he personally increased the price of maize. This was a planned move but the people of Chifunabuli are ready for them and I want to appeal to the people of Eastern Province also that whenever there are elections, they must be careful with this crooked government. Now they are so scared like rats thats why they sent those officers today.”

Kambwili said he was going to complain to ECZ.

“We are going to put in an official complaint with the Electoral Commission of Zambia that there is no way the Chifunabuli elections can be said to be free and fair because of police interference and intimidation,” Kambwili said.

Meanwhile, police in Kitwe turned down the request by NDC to stage a protest against AVIC International citing security concerns. NDC National Youth Chairperson Charles Kabwita had asked for a permit to protest against the Chinese firm for allegedly being a PF surrogate siphoning public money.

Reacting to police’s decision to block the protest, Kambwili warned that AVIC would face the ‘music’ after President Lungu leaves office.

This country has become a police state. You can see how [Home Affairs Minister Stephen] Kampyongo reacted, because AVIC is a conduit for corruption in this country. I want to warn AVIC that they must prepare themselves, when Edgar goes, they will face the music. They are a conduit of corruption by Edgar and his minions and we shall take them on,” said Kambwili.