UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango says the police must allow the opposition UPND to also launch its early campaigns on the Copperbelt like they have allowed the ruling patriotic front to start mobilising voters ahead of 2021.
The Patriotic Front on the Copperbelt has kicked off campaigns for the 2021 general elections. PF Copperbelt Provincial Chairman Nathan Chanda has since handed over some motorbikes for campaigns in Masaiti, Mpongwe and Lufwanyama.
Reacting to the development, Nalumango said the UPND was also eager to join the PF in the campaign field and hoped police would grant them permission.
“We should also start campaigning. Actually when we have time we should. If the PF can go to their constituencies then we are going in as well. Just watch the space! Party mobilisation is an ongoing thing and it’s allowed by the Constitution,” he said.
“But you know how these guys [in PF] have always behaved, they want to occupy all the political space. You will see, if they hear that I am somewhere with UPND supporters, they will arrest me or PF will come to beat me. We are essentially just failed society. We have never enjoyed political space in the UPND, even in a declared campaign period you see how they harass us, how the police refuse to grant us permission.”
Nalumango observed that PF campaigns at free will without interference from the police.
“PF doesn’t need permits as far as they are concerned; for them they can go anywhere, they can demonstrate any time, they can do anything including criminality. But this should be of concern to every Zambian because it is wrong. If other parties go in to campaign like they are doing, you will see how people will be arrested,” she said.
“How can we have a society where laws apply to some and not others? Others are above the law? If today some PF cadres choose to demonstrate for or against [PF secretary general Davies] Mwila or anybody, they will just rise and go. Where is the seven days [period for getting a permit] there? And have you ever heard them getting permission? This is your Zambia, it’s a very sad situation. I even feel sorry for the police because they know what they are supposed to do but they never do because they are intimidated.”
Nalumango charged that the PF was an unlawful political grouping with people who don’t follow the law.
“For them they don’t even notify the police but for us the opposition parties that they fear, even notification is not accepted at the police. They will tell you how they don’t have the officers to marshal. But the law allows a grouping to marshal itself and these are modern days surely we should not expecting violence. If I go to my village to hold a meeting, do I expect violence? No! GBM was recently in Kaputa, did he get a permit? No! Because now he’s PF. When he was in UPND, you remember how they would run all over? So all this just confirms that we are in a society which is a failed State where institutions of governance are not working, they are simply instructed by the PF,” she said.
Nalumango regretted that the police had been hijacked by PF.
“If police officers were to tell you privately, they would tell you that they know what they should do but they are told what to do by the PF. The PF have the right to violence, that’s why if they are found with weapons like in Sesheke, that’s okay and it’s the policeman who will be fired. So any police officer who tries to stop them is the one who gets in trouble. It’s sad. But we continue to try and survive, hoping that Zambians can see that their democratic space is shrinking every single day. The government is being ruled by anarchists and what do you expect when institutions of governance cannot operate freely? Look at DEC, see the police! What should people do? We hope Zambians will rise and learn to vote for a party that has policies. It’s not like Zambians want to be vulnerable and survive by clapping for these honourables who have become big donors, no! They want the government to function so that they can all have access and own what is owned by the State, not to beg,” said Nalumango.