The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked the PF to stop using police in its political battles, saying opposition parties have the right to hold public meetings because Zambia is a democratic country.
In a statement, Thursday, NDC secretary general Mwenya Musenge noted that the Patriotic Front government, under President Edgar Lungu, was abusing governance institutions to disadvantage the opposition by denying them permits and other privileges.
Musenge complained that the Zambia Police Service was seemingly receiving instructions from the governing PF to cripple all political activities of the opposition parties in the country.
“The National Democratic Congress NDC is not happy that the police service has continuously been denying opposition political groupings permits to hold campaign meetings. As a party, we are not happy that police have blocked our tour of the North Western province. Our attempts as a party to tour the North Western region on three different occasions this year alone have been denied. The reason being cited by the police command in that region are seemingly vague and political. The police service is ostensibly receiving instructions from the governing PF to cripple our political activities. NDC consultant and 2021 Presidential candidate Chishimba Kambwili was scheduled to visit that part of the country next week. The police has denied the NDC permits to hold meetings despite fulfilling all conditions under the Public Order Act to enable the party hold political activities,” Musenge stated.
“The blocking of the NDC to hold public gatherings is not synonymous with the North Western province alone. All our countrywide tours are on hold because the police in those regions are skeptical to sanction our undertakings. This behavior by the police to stop us from holding countrywide tours is at variance with the Republican constitution. As a political front, we have all the rights to hold gatherings, I.e, assemble and address meetings. It is clear that the PF is abusing governance institutions to disadvantage the opposition. The PF should not use the police service to fight proxy political battles, this we shall not accept as a party. Zambia is a democratic country and the opposition should have the right to hold public meetings.”
Musenge further condemned the culture of the ruling PF conducting public gatherings anyhow and without permission from the police.
“We have further noticed that while the opposition is being denied permits, the PF is busy campaigning without permits from police. We do not need such double standards in a multi party state. As a party, we are urging President Edgar Lungu to stop this well orchestrated agenda to amputate the opposition. The people of Zambia have every right to listen to opposition figures. After all, the NDC is a registered movement. This regime should seriously reflect and start respecting divergent views, Zambia is our heritage and we are all equally stakeholders. This country belongs to all of us and not the PF alone. If the police service continues denying us permits, we shall have no option but resort to pursue legal options,” stated Musenge.