Lusaka Province Police Commissioner Nelson Phiri has refused to sanction the “Yellow Card Against Corruption Peaceful Gathering,” which musician Pilato, Maiko Zulu, Laura Miti and Gunduzani Mwale intended to hold this Friday.
But Zulu says the police’s cancellation of the peaceful campaign from going ahead will not make the escalating corruption in the PF government disappear, adding that it was impossible to reject the entire citizenry from protesting against corruption.
In a letter addressed to the protesters, Phiri stated that it will be impossible for police to provide security to the gathering as they would be engaged with national duties on the material day.
“We acknowledge receipt of your notice of intention to gather in a public place on 21st June, 2019. Be informed that on the date stipulated for your gathering, the police will be engaged in other national duties, thereby, rendering it impossible to give you coverage at your gathering. Therefore, you are kindly advised not to go ahead with your intentions as your security will not be guaranteed, especially that the gathering is intended to go until 23:30 hours in the night. Our doors remain open for dialogue with yourselves if need be,” Phiri stated in the letter.
But Zulu, in an interview, said denying them a permit would not make the corruption within the PF government disappear.
“The laws say that if the police cannot provide us with the security on the date requested, they are supposed to then give us an alternative date. That is what we are expecting from them. As far as we are concerned, we want to go ahead with the protest on a date that they will advise because I think them denying us a permit for Friday does not mean that the corruption we are talking about is going to disappear,” Zulu said, Monday.
He said the police should know that although they can deny a small group of people permit, it was impossible to reject the entire citizenry from protesting against corruption.
“So, we are waiting for the police to advise us on a date [which] they think they will be available to offer us security. If that does not happen, obviously, we will need to re-strategize and look at other means in which we are going to make our voices be heard because at the end of the day, the fight against corruption is not just about myself, Laura and Pilato. It’s for all citizens! So, there will come a time when the police will fail to deny the whole country a permit because one day, the whole country will rise against this corruption and people will show their power!” Zulu cautioned.
He also expressed sadness that police were operating under corrupt people’s orders.
“We know that the police are getting orders from elsewhere. The people that are involved in this corruption are too powerful! They control the police. That is why you see that it’s easy for certain groupings in this country to protest, sometimes even without police permits! But for people who want to fight corruption, they will never be given a permit. So, we are not surprised by the police’s action. It was expected because professionalism in the police is questionable, especially where the Public Order Act is concerned,” said Zulu.