UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says his party will continue defending itself from violence perpetrated by PF if police does not show impartiality in the management of the upcoming Katuba Parliamentary by-elections.
Commenting on his PF counterpart Mumbi Phiri’s pronouncement that the Katuba by-elections would be a litmus test to prove if UPND was able to conduct violent-free campaigns, Mucheleka wondered how she could accuse UPND of violence when her party was the number one culprit.
“When we are talking about free, fair and credible elections; all of us need to support that irrespective of which political party we belong to because before we are members of political parties, we are Zambians. Politics must not be able to bring serious divisions in our communities. So when we talk about curbing violence during elections, we really must be able to point at facts. I heard the other day Mumbi Phiri talking about the Katuba by-elections being a litmus test for UPND ahead of 2021 general elections. But I am saying let’s be sincere with what we say, she (Mumbi) is very quick at giving an impression that violence is only perpetrated by UPND. To the contrary, it is violence that begets violence,” Mucheleka said
“You saw what happened in Roan where Mumbi Phiri is saying there wasn’t so much violence because UPND didn’t participate. But we did take part in Roan, we supported our alliance partners the NDC. And it is in Roan where Bowman Lusambo is accused of murdering Joseph Kasongo, the deceased youth chairman for NDC in Lusaka. But to this day, no single individual has been brought to book, not even Lusambo has been held to account. You saw in Roan the video that went viral where everyone was able to see for themselves how those known PF thugs threatened to murder Chishimba Kambwili and not a single one of them was arrested. Closer to home in Katuba, you saw Innocent Kalimashi, a PF thug threatening violence against president HH and UPND senior leaders. He was clearly seen, but to date no one has ever said anything from PF, not even the police. Innocent Kalimashi was asking President Lungu to give him the authority to go and injure president Hakainde Hichilema. But has Innocent ever been questioned by the police? Has Mumbi Phiri said anything? Has any senior PF official condemned that act? The answer is no!”
Mucheleka said Katuba was not a place to perpetrate violence from.
“Allow the people of Katuba to freely choose their leader. Don’t threaten them, create a peaceful environment for everyone to participate. Let their be peace in Katuba. We are calling on ECZ to manage the elections as per their mandate. Don’t subcontract the aspect of managing the elections to Zambia Police. Zambia Police by law should have nothing to do with the running of elections in Katuba. What they should have instead is to ensure that there is a peaceful environment in Katuba for political parties to campaign. And if there is anyone threatening violence like Innocent Kalimanshi, that person is the one who should be brought to book before the actual campaigns even begins and that is the only way PF and Zambia Police will be able to send a message that what they are talking about in Katuba is something that people can listen to,” Mucheleka said
“We want to make it very clear that once the people of Katuba feel that violence is being taken to their door steps, people will be in order to defend themselves. We must understand that the law provides for self-defense. Our people, where violence will be inflicted will be required to act in self-defense. The Constitution and other subsidiary laws of Zambia allow every person to act in self defense. So that is what we are going to do as UPND, and we are not ashamed to say that we shall act in self defense.”
Meanwhile, Mucheleka charged that ECZ and police had become useless and moribund institutions which were only undermining the country’s democracy instead of uniting the people.