UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka has condemned Zambia police’s warn and caution statement to Bahati PF member of parliament Harry Kalaba saying he is a free citizen who is at liberty to engage his supporters.
And Mucheleka says his party will soon be hitting the ground to familiarize itself with its party structures and that no one should intimidate them.
On Tuesday, Copperbelt Police recorded a warn and caution statement from Kalaba for holding what they termed as illegal meetings in the province.
But in a statement, Wednesday, Mucheleka described the action by police as harassment.
“The UPND wishes to condemn in the strongest possible terms, the harassment of Harry Kalaba by Zambia Police on the Copperbelt for simply exercising his rights of movement, association, assembly and free speech. We also deplore the police action of summoning and issuing of a warn and caution statement on Hon. Harry Kalaba, who’s a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahati MP, and a respected member of our community. We understand Hon. Kalaba was being warned and cautioned for merely peacefully engaging his supporters, something we believe is within his rights,” Mucheleka stated.
He stated that the action by police demonstrated the PF’s continued intimidation and police harassment on the rights of innocent citizens.
“This incident, like many others before, demonstrates, once again, what we have been saying that, the PF leadership does not believe in democratic co-existence where citizens can freely, peacefully and openly enjoy their rights and freedoms without political intimidation and police harassment. It is these issues that the PF are running away from fully engaging in the dialogue process, which would have gone a long way in addressing and ironing out all the thorny issues that are denting the democratic credentials of our country,” Mucheleka stated.
He also questioned the silence of the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) as well as the Human Rights Commission (HRC) on the matter.
“The deafening silence by organizations like the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID) and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) is not unexpected and surprising. It shows and confirms how toothless, ineffective and compromised they are in handling common matters affecting our country. Why should it honestly require police notifications, which is now treated and qualifies as police permits, for political leaders to merely interact with their supporters and mobilise their structures on the ground? On the other hand, the PF leadership, at various levels, are busy traversing the breadth and length of our country, buying UPND councillors and engaging their structures on the ground without any police notifications,” Mucheleka complained.
And he stated that his party would continue holding meetings and visiting its structures because it was their constitutional right.
“As UPND, we shall not accept this injustice in our country and by virtue of this statement; we want to inform the nation that, our party president Hakainde Hichilema and other senior party officials will be immediately hitting the ground to visit our structures and engage our citizens as a way to fully appreciate the suffering they are going through under the corrupt PF leadership. Hon. Harry Kalaba committed no offence and we shall not be committing any offence by visiting our party structures and peacefully engage our citizens around the country,” stated Mucheleka.