UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma has vowed that the party will fight tooth and nail and will not allow to be disadvantaged in mobilisation ahead of the 2021 general election.

UPND Lusaka Province chairperson Obvious Mwaliteta told News Diggers! on Wednesday, that over 100 police officers in riot gear had manned Kafue’s township ahead of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s planned visit to the area.

But police spokesperson Esther Katongo warned that the UPND were daring police by trying to go to Kafue when they were told not to.

“They did notify the police about their intention to hold an activity in Kafue and police gave them a response. But what we heard is that they are daring the police that they are going to go ahead irrespective of what the police have said. So, if they say they are going to go ahead and we tell them not to go ahead, what do we do? We prevent that from happening. So, we put in preventive measures. And the preventive measures is to deploy our officers on the ground. We can’t protect them when they have not been given a go ahead. It’s very clear!” exclaimed Katongo in an interview, Wednesday.

And in a separate interview, Kakoma said blocking the party from going to donate food in Kafue clearly demonstrated that the country was lumbered with a dictatorial regime.

He vowed that the UPND would not be stopped from mobilizing their members ahead of the 2021 general election.

“We hope to convince the police that there is no need for them to stop the meeting. The security concerns they are raising…they have enough manpower in Kafue. If they can mobilize enough police to block, the same police that are trying to prevent the meeting can be used as manpower to prevent any trouble that may occur in Kafue. So, we don’t see any reason why they should insist on stopping us. But, of course, this is demonstrating clearly that this is a dictatorship regime,” complained Kakoma.

“That is suppressing people’s rights to assemble, right to free movement and now they are trampling on the rights to speak to our people; the right of expression. This cannot be tolerated in a modern and democratic country. We know that this is their strategy to stifle the opposition to make it impossible to mobilize and campaign ahead of the 2021 elections. But meanwhile, they are busy on the ground mobilizing and campaigning. We will not allow ourselves to be disadvantaged. It is against tenets of democracy. So, we will fight tooth and nail to ensure that we create space for ourselves to mobilize.”