Armed police officers in Mwinilunga district of North Western Province on Sunday forced Bahati PF member of parliament Harry Kalaba to cut short his visit and leave the area saying they only had enough manpower to protect Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya who was also in the same area.
And Mwinilunga police officer-in-charge, only identified as Mwewa, told Kalaba that talking to people at a funeral without notifying the law enforcement agency was against the Public Order Act.
The fracas began when Mwewa followed the former foreign affairs minister to St Anthony Catholic Church where he was attending mass.
Mwewa and his armed officers parked their vehicle registration number ZP 2535 B, outside the Church premises, waiting for Kalaba.
After mass, police followed Kalaba as he proceeded to Kabanda area where he went to lay a wreath on the grave of late freedom fighter and academician Dr Peter Matoka.
After laying a wreath, Kalaba went to meet Dr Matoka’s brother who lives a few meters away from the burial site, police following him still.
Upon arrival at the house, Mwewa called Democratic Party spokesperson Judith Kabemba on the side and started interrogating her why Kalaba decided to visit the district without informing him as officer-in-charge.
However, before the conversation between Kabemba and Mwewa could go further, Kalaba concluded his short discussion Dr Matoka’s brother and took on the officer.
Below was the exchange:
Kalaba: Good afternoon officer, you have followed me here, what is the matter?
Mwewa: Yes, we have followed you because you did not notify me of your visit and your programs in the district. You can go to church and visit the grave yard, but I have also been informed that you are meeting other people in different places that include schools.
Kalaba: You are following us right?
Kalaba: Let’s go you see the program
Mwewa: Ahh…you know you have to inform us when you are conducting your activities in the district. We were supposed to offer our services to the Minister of Health Dr Chilufya who is in also in the district.
Kalaba: I am not even aware…I am not aware that the minister is here.
Mwewa: That’s why I am telling you that for me to cover you, you need to inform me of your presence and your activities in the district. I don’t have enough man power here.
Kalaba: So you have got enough man power to follow me here and you have left your minister unattended to?
Mwewa: Honourable…I am here to know your program in the district.
Kalaba: If I have a program, I will come and tell you…that I am meeting people there and there, but if I don’t have a program, I only went to church and came here to pay my respects and put a wreath on late Dr Peter Matoka’s grave…I see no need to inform you.
Mwewa: There is no problem with that, but meeting people in the district without telling me as commanding officer is against the Public Order Act. I have told you that the Minister of Health is also here.
Kalaba: There is no law officer, first of all let me tell you this, there is no law that says when a minister is in a district, citizens cannot interact, there is no law.
Mwewa: You are meeting people, you are talking to people, I expected you to just put a wreath and go, but if you start meeting people, you are creating a problem.
Kalaba: But that’s what I did, I put a wreathe, and went to greet the old man and I am going.
Mwewa: Okay, if you say that, then we have no problem. We can…we can…
Kalaba: Why do you create drama where there is no drama?
Mwewa: No, there is no drama honourable
Kalaba: Don’t intimidate citizens ba Mwewa.
Mwewa: We are not intimidating you, this is the law that is at work
Kalaba: Which law are you quoting? There is no law that has been broken.
Mwewa: We want to advise you that from here honourable, we see you off!
Kalaba: No! You can’t! In fact, if you say that, I can even go and book a lodge! Which powers do you have to chase us from Mwinilunga?
Mwewa: I am saying…I am saying… if you are here and you want to be meeting people, you need to notify me as officer in charge of this place.
Kalaba: Why didn’t you wait where you sat there to see whether Kalaba was going to meet people or not? I have just come to put a wreath of flowers on Dr Matoka’s grave and met the brother, and I am on my way out now.
Mwewa: We advise you…we advise you. You have now said nicely that you are going…now.
Someone in Kalaba’s entourage: Officer withdraw what you have said that we should leave Mwinilunga, you can’t chase us from Mwinilunga…we can’t run away from Mwinilunga. For what ba Mwewa, for what?
Mwewa: Okay now listen…listen…you agree or not agree?
Someone in Kalaba’s entourage: Officer don’t work under instructions, follow the law. We don’t agree to chase us from Mwinilunga ba Mwewa…that can’t work.
Late Dr Matoka’s niece: Come and pick me if you want, these people came to visit Dr Matoka…they came to mourn, come pick me if you want.
Mwewa: You have not agreed…okay…okay. I have warned you…I have warned as Officer in charge.
At this point, Mwewa and his officers boarded their vehicles and drove away.
A few minutes later, Kalaba’s entourage also departed from Dr Matoka’s burial site.
Once Kalaba’s entourage reached the town centre, the police officers, who had been waiting for them, followed him until they entered the gravel Mwinilunga-Zambezi Road.
Kalaba could not proceed to meet members of the Democratic Party.