UPPZ spokesperson Francis Kope has accused PF supporters of causing violence against his party supporters and grabbing away of campaign materials at the on-going by-election campaigns in Kasenengwa constituency.
And Kope further accused the ruling PF of forcing a hospitalized UPPZ supporter, who was allegedly stabbed, to wear a PF cap and took picture of him to claim that he was a PF member attacked by the opposition.
But PF Kasenengwa campaign manager Vincent Mwale has refuted reports that his party members attacked UPPZ supporters, saying his party cannot attack a party without structures.
According to Mwale, the person who is reported to have been stabbed was a PF supporter, who accidentally got injured during the cutting of chitenge campaign material.
In an interview, Kope told News Diggers! that PF supporters caused violence against his party supporters and grabbed campaign materials away from them at the just ended by-election campaigns in Kasenengwa.
“Our team was attacked by PF thugs in Kasenengwa, and our vehicles were broken [into], and they took away the campaign materials that we had, including the ECZ accreditation papers that we had for our polling agents and other colleagues. So, it is sad on the ground as you know that, the PF is losing ground, they have lost the support of their so-called stronghold, hence resorting to few tactics that they are implementing now, such as intimidation, violence, and vote-buying. Those are some of the tactics that they are now using so that they can discourage people from voting and because people will not see the meaning of voting if they are seeing their leaders sponsoring violence,” Kope charged.
He said PF was intimidating his party supporters and confiscating campaign materials from them.
“So, they want to intimidate people because they know that most of the people have resolved to support the UPPZ. Last time, we had our member Clement Muwowo who was stabbed in Chizuzu area. After being stabbed, if you saw in the video that we published on Sunday morning, the next thing that they did was to go to St. Francis Hospital where the patient was; they surrounded the hospital and went into the ward in the Intensive Care Unit where he was being kept; they threatened him and they were taking pictures,” Kope narrated.
He further accused the PF of forcing his party’s member, who was hospitalized after being stabbed, to wear a PF cap and posted his pictures on social media masquerading that it was their member.
“They forced him to wear a [PF] cap and took pictures of him and masquerading that he was a PF member, and they are now lying that it was an in-fight when it was something that is a clear attack on the UPPZ because of their popularity in Kasenengwa. So, this has continued, and we have instructed the team there to report to the conflict resolution and management, and to the police. We are trying to see how best we can handle this otherwise, this is a tactic that the PF are using. Yesterday, they went flat-out distributing all food stuffs to the people shamelessly! In all the places, which they know they are not very strong, they are doing everything and they don’t care; beating up somebody, openly beating up somebody so that they can be voted into because they know that ECZ will not make a decision to halt or maybe to disqualify them,” Kope further charged.
But when reached for comment, Mwale expressed ignorance on the opposition attacks and said he was hearing such claims from the media.
“I am not aware of those incidences. So, I am learning this from the first person that called me from Radio Phoenix and now from yourself. I think the first thing that UPPZ can do is to go and report this to ECZ and the police and give clear information about where these things happened and so on because I am not aware,” Mwale claimed.
He, however, admitted that one person was injured in the process of cutting chitenge campaign material.
“The only incident that I am aware of is the one that is circulating on social media where they said there was a man who was stabbed in the rib and so on and the pictures were shown. And, clearly, that happened at the PF meeting where there were just PF people and there was cutting of chitenge and somebody accidentally got injured. Now, if they could turn around a story like that and made so much noise about it, it becomes very difficult to believe every other information [which] they are giving because the first incident that was on social media was clearly a matter of accident when people were fighting for a chitenge. Now, these other claims I am not aware of and I am here in Chipata. I don’t even know when this happened; they are not even letting us know or even just letting the police know. We also want to know where did that happen?” Mwale wondered.
And Mwale, who is also Chipangali PF member of parliament, formerly of MMD, wondered why the PF would want to cause violence against a party that has no structures.
“We reported them to ECZ ourselves of vote-buying, they were distributing chitenge materials and money and some food stuffs! And they were called to conflict resolution committee because, believe us, when there is a problem like this, you go to the law enforcers as we went to ECZ, they called them, they admitted that, ‘yes,’ they were not aware that it was wrong, they were counselled and they said, ‘we have stopped.’ So, if really there is a problem, why don’t they come and report or even call us or anything? We are ready to talk. Nobody wants violence. We have more people in Kasenengwa than anybody. We have more support than anybody! Why would we want to bring violence, especially on a party like that that has no structures, has no people in there! It doesn’t make sense for us. So, I am not aware of anything because we also want to know when such things are happening,” said Mwale.