UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says well-known PF cadres loyal to former UPND former vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) on Saturday forcefully entered into his lodge in Kasama, attacked people and damaged property.
In an interview, Mucheleka complained that political violence which had been eradicated in Kasama, had now returned with GBM’s re-joining of the ruling party.
“On Saturday, 4th of May, there were our people who were meeting at my place (lodge), and people who were identified to be our former vice president GBM’s people, such as Jack Simutenda and others, went to attack our people! They found their way in, confronted our people and started beating them up, and they also managed to stand up and defend themselves. A number of people who were there were injured by these thugs who also caused damage to my property. They broke the windows and door frames to part of the building that is still under construction. They also broke the windows of the vehicles they found packed there. Some of our people tried to run for their safety and seek refuge in a nearby Amini village where these thugs followed them and broke into the houses where they went to hide,” Mucheleka narrated.
“Violence in Kasama almost sopped until now when GBM has gone back to PF. We have seen violence suddenly come back just when we thought we are succeeding. But it will not work because the people of Kasama like everywhere else in the country are feeling the pressure of the economy. Let him act as an elderly person, a national leader with the experience of a senior minister and former vice president of the biggest opposition political party. We heard that he wants to go to Southern Province, he is welcome, no one will harm him. He is free to go anywhere in this country just like any of us are free and no one should disturb him. We will tell our people to let him move freely and conduct his activities freely. No one will insult him the way he is insulting us.”
He also condemned GBM’s sentiments on turning Kasama into Dundumwezi, arguing that the people in the area were not violent.
“GBM is talking about making Kasama like Dundumwezi, have you ever heard of violence in Dundumwezi? Have you ever heard people insulting anyone there? Have you ever heard that any politician was chased from there? The only thing people of Dundumwezi do is to express themselves through voting for people whom they know that will provide quality leadership that will improve their livelihood. No one goes to tell the people of Dundumwezi to vote in a particular way based on tribe the way GBM is doing in Kasama, all politicians go there and campaign based on what they intend to do for the people and the people are left alone to make a choice. If the people are not happy with the way the government has failed to respond to their challenges, such as late delivery of farming inputs, lack of vaccination for animal diseases, delayed payment of farmers who supply maize to FRA (Food Reserve Agency), and other challenges; that’s why people don’t vote for PF,” Mucheleka said.
“So, he should do whatever he is doing in Kasama with civility, let him just explain to the people how PF is going to answer to the challenges facing the people in Kasama. Is it true that just because GBM has gone back to PF then the street vendors in Kasama have been allowed to sell their merchandise? Have the prices of mealie meal gone down because GBM has gone back to PF? Has the Kwacha appreciated because GBM has gone to PF? The answer is no! The people of Dundumwezi are very good and peaceful people. In fact, GBM and myself once went to Dundumwezi and he was given a thunderous welcome by the people. GBM himself was even given a cow, which was transported to Lusaka by Honourable Garry Nkombo who kept it at his farm in Kafue until GBM requested that it should be slaughtered; it was slaughtered and we had a very big feast! So, how can he turn around today and start saying negative things about the people who treated him so well?”
And Mucheleka alleged that police officers at TAZARA Police Station refused to record a statement from the caretaker at his loge, adding that the officers were operating under difficult conditions after seeing their counterparts in Sesheke who were fired.
“The police are aware, I personally spoke to the commissioner and I hope they will be able to bring the PF culprits to book as opposed to what they are doing by delaying to arrest them and wanting to frame the victims as the ones who were wrong. We want the police to do their work professionally, yes, we know they are working under very difficult conditions, their professionalism has been taken away after what happened in Sesheke. I could tell from the way the commissioner was speaking that he is really a man who is worried and under pressure; it is very sad! But all these things will come to an end sooner than later because the people of this country cannot allow such things to continue. All the criminals are now hiding in PF; you can commit any crime and you will be protected as long as you claim that you are PF,” lamented Mucheleka.
“Imagine, the police at TAZARA Police Station refused to record a statement from my caretaker who went to complain against the violent behaviour of these thugs! He told me that he had gone to report at the police station as it is the nearest to the scene of the incident, but they refused to record the statement.”