Some Patriotic Front cadres yesterday beat up their Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda as he toured the market in unknown circumstances.

And PF Secretary General Davies Mwila has called on Kabwata party officials to help identify the assailants saying they must be arrested for the crime in accordance with President Edgar Lungu’s directive that ruling party members must not be allowed to engage in violence.

In a statement yesterday, police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo stated that Lubinda, who is also Justice Minister, was assaulted by “unknown persons”.

“Police at Kabwata recieved a report of Assault from Kabwata Member of Parliament, Hon. Given Lubinda that he was assaulted by unknown persons during his tour of Kabwata Market. This occured today 12th July, 2019 between 15:00 hours and 15:30 hours. The suspects have not yet been identified and investigations in the matter have been instituted and a docket of Assault has been opened. Contrary to what is circulating on social media, Hon. Lubinda was at no point undressed by the assailants and at the time he went to report the matter to Kabwata Police Station, he was fully dressed,” stated Katongo.

And in a statement today, Mwila described the attack as cowardly, asking party officials to help identify the suspects.

“We are appalled by yesterday afternoon’s reported assault by unknown assailants of Member of the Patriotic Front Central Committee Hon Given Lubinda, who is also Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament for Kabwata Constituency. The attack was cowardly and the fact that it took place in the course of Hon Lubinda’s duty of serving his constituents during his tour of Kabwata Market made it even more reprehensible. We are gratified that the police have already issued a statement confirming that they have launched investigations into the matter. However, we call on them to intensify their thorough investigations in order for them to bring the dastardly perpetrators to book,” Mwila stated.

“This cowardly act is shameful and we will work with the Police to pursue the perpetrators with the urgency this deserves. Let me state here that Section Section 31 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) provides for arrest by private persons. In this regard, I am directing ALL members of the Party, ALL structures of the Party in Lusaka, under the Provincial leadership to go on the ground and find the assailants and hand them over to the Police. As our Party President and Head of State His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu recently exhorted: “We took over government without using violence. We are a peaceful party. No one…none of our youths must be allowed to commit violence…”.In line with our President’s directive which is in tandem with the Patriotic Front’s core value of encouraging responsible law abiding citizenship, we once again call upon all members of Kabwata Constituency and anywhere else who may have relevant information, to step forward and share it with the police.”

Mwila also stated that the manner in which some media houses handled the story was disappointing.

“Patriotic Front values the noble profession of Journalism. We appreciate the importance of the media as key development partners, whose purpose is to serve the citizens—all the citizens—of a democratic Zambia, by informing them and by also holding all duty bearers accountable. However, their key role also comes with the critical responsibility to report facts; not to propagate the kind of hearsay and speculation that characterised some “reports” on Hon Lubinda’s assault. It is unfortunate that on this particular story, some sections of the media ran opinionated commentaries, disguised as “reports”. While it is a fact that Hon. Lubinda reported the assault to the police, some of these “reports” were garnished with an extra embellishment of wild claims with absolutely no corroboration. Such sensationalism has the potential to fuel further violence. We accordingly urge our media friends to resist the craving to embroider their reporting with personal views informed by unsubstantiated hearsay and partisan interests,” stated Mwila.

“As Pope John Paul II once said: “Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create”. No matter which political party we belong to, what sector we represent or what tribe we come from and no matter what our socio-economic status is; Violence is our common enemy. Therefore, the people who attacked Hon Given Lubinda are not only enemies of Patriotic Front, but more significantly, they are the enemies of peace; and therefore the enemies of ALL Zambians. May the Law take its course and may Justice prevail.”

Efforts to get a narration from Lubinda failed as his phones went unanswered, Friday.