Eastern Province UPND youth chairman Lyson Nyirenda says Zambians should start defending themselves whenever they are attacked by ruling PF supporters because it is clear that the Police are no longer on their side.

And Nyirenda says his party is not surprised that Police in Chipata have released the two PF officials who were arrested on Saturday for storming Catholic Church-run Radio Maria on claims that the Church leadership had withdrawn the matter.

In an interview, Nyirenda wondered how the Police could have released the two suspected officials from custody on a weekend, saying the individuals would been taken to Court by now had they been members of the opposition.

He also charged that it was possible that the Church was coerced to withdraw their complaint, seeing that they were hesitant in accepting the apology from Provincial PF chairperson Andrew Lubusha.

“I think this is Animal Farm. It is no longer the Zambia we used to know. These guys were released on a Sunday and it is not in our laws for Police to release suspects on weekends. In normal circumstances, those people should have been released on any other working day, not Sunday. If it were us in the UPND by this time we would have been in court but because it’s the PF, everyone can do anything wrong with impunity because they feel they are protected. But as UPND, we are not shocked with what happened even though we expected that the law would take its course. We are just disappointed that this is what is happening in our country, it’s like these PF cadres have support from the top,” Nyirenda said.

Nyirenda said President Edgar Lungu’s call to have suspects of violence regardless of their political affiliations arrested was not genuine.

“Think of what happened to those Police officers who acted in Sesheke, they were retired in national interest because they acted professionally. So these cadres are getting powers from the President. Even if the President issued that directive, it was just a cosmetic one. It was not a real directive but just a cosmetic one to blindfold the people. We Zambians are not stupid, we know what is happening, cadres are getting powers from the President because the President is the only person who can end this violence, reason being that he is the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. We had [Levy] Mwanawasa, history is there and there was nothing of this kind. This type of nonsense is only happening under the regime of PF under the leadership of Edgar Lungu and we are wondering…Why should it take the President to direct that those cadres should be arrested? What is the duty of the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioners of Police? Does it mean they cannot act unless the President speaks?” Nyirenda asked.

“So us we are not even surprised that those PF thugs are no longer in custody, we are not surprised that they were released on pretext that they apologized, apologized to who? Because even the Catholics themselves they said ‘what if they repeat the same things?’, meaning that they have not forgiven themselves. I don’t think the Church forgave wholeheartedly because from what I have gathered, their Provincial Chairperson Andrew Lubusha had to go and meet the Bishop and the leadership from the Catholic, but then we had a statement from the same Catholics saying ‘if we forgive these people, what if they repeat the same things?’ To me it simply means that they have not forgiven. So how were they released? Did the Police release them minus the knowledge of the Church?”

Meanwhile, Nyirenda said Zambians should not expect the Police to protect them from violence.

“One day, the police will not control this situation because people will start defending themselves. I will give you an example of what happened to Chishimba Kambwili, what happened in Kabwe is the beginning to say people are now tired of this kind of barbaric behaviour. So I would encourage the people to just defend themselves. Whenever they are attacked by PF, the best is to defend themselves because it is there in the law. I am allowed to defend myself because the police are not on the side of the people. Cadres are more powerful the police themselves so where are you going to lodge your complaint? Because if you go to the Police, the same Police are scared of cadres. So where are you going to lodge your complaint apart from defending yourself? People from the NDC went to lodge a complaint in Luanshya but no one has been arrested, nobody has been brought to book. So these people are not doing their job professionally. All I would ask the IG is to resign on moral grounds. He has failed. We had people like Wazakaza Ng’uni, under him this type of nonsense was not there,” said Nyirenda.