PF secretary general Davies Mwila says the Western Province police command is equally to blame for the political violence which characterized the Kaoma Council Chairperson by-elections because they neglected their responsibility of protecting citizens’ lives.
And Mwila says the ruling party has resolved to stop importing campaigners from one place to another during elections.
Meanwhile, Mwila has bragged that Western Province is no longer a UPND stronghold because the PF has penetrated the province with its recent strong performances in by-elections held in the area.
Speaking when he met the Kaoma Police Commissioner at the the district administration offices in Western Province, Wednesday, Mwila said the chaos that rocked the district earlier this month was due police negligence.
“The problem that is there is that we are banking on the police to protect us, as citizens, and if police cannot protect us, then who is going to protect us? And police is not only you people here in Kaoma, even the ones who came from Lusaka and Mongu, they were all here. So, you can’t tell us that you were short of manpower because all of them were here. I don’t know why those culprits were not picked because they can’t just go in the street without police accompaniment. They didn’t ask for police authorization to hold that demonstration, they didn’t. So, police were supposed to follow the law to make sure that it was a peaceful demonstration. But if you just leave them like that, they went to an extent of destroying our members’ property. Assuming it was us who were celebrating then we go and start damaging UPND members’ property, it doesn’t go that way. So, that’s our concern,” Mwila said.
He said it was unacceptable for police to let UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema campaign in the same area as President Edgar Lungu.
“The day of elections was 10th October and today is 23rd, that is 13 days ago, the way I know police, you can’t fail to arrest someone. I have got experience, I was Minister of Home Affairs, so I know these things. So, all the assurances you gave us that you would protect us were just fake! You did nothing here and, actually, it’s the police who caused all this mess up in which we are now because you cannot allow the President of the State and HH to hold meetings at the same time. When we were coming from the rally, we were blocked by UPND cadres until our friends had to pass. Such a thing has never happened in the history of Zambia! So, those are some of the lapses, but you assured us ‘nothing will happen’, but what happened? Our property was damaged, our party office was destroyed! We are going into 2021, but if police cannot protect us, then what happens? So, ba Officer-in-Charge, help us find out who destroyed our party office and not only that, at the camp, we had two police officers, what happened that they moved out? UPND cadres attacked our camp when the results were announced and the police were not there.”
And addressing party members after his meeting with the Kaoma Police Chief, Mwila announced that PF had made a decision to stop importing cadres in an effort to stop political violence.
“We have made a decision as a party that we don’t to import people from outside to come and campaign, we want the local people to campaign because, normally, people who come from outside think that they know it all. But we want the locals to be in charge because you know the people yourselves. So how do you expect someone coming from Ndola to come and tell you about the people here? For us to have smooth campaigns, we have to do it ourselves and that also will help us when it comes to the issue of violence. The people who bring violence are those who are coming from outside. The UPND imported people from Kanyama, even the gentleman who died (Lawrence Banda) came from Kanyama. So, us, we’ve stopped [importing cadres] and we want to continue on that route. But we are asking police that if the UPND imports cadres from outside, we expect them to come in and arrest all those chaps,” he demanded.
Mwila told the police to pull up their socks ahead of the 2021 elections.
“The UPND brought violence here in Kaoma and us, we were not involved. You saw what happened when the election results were announced, UPND went and destroyed our party offices and where was the police because we expect the police to protect all citizens. So, I want you, police, please pull up your socks as we go towards 2021 because you are going to manage 156 constituencies! If you can fail to manage one constituency, what about 156 constituencies? So, what we are saying is that all those who were involved in destroying the structures for our party offices should be brought to book. PF will not sit idle watching until the culprits are brought to book. Tomorrow (Thursday), we will be celebrating 55 years of independence and this country has been peaceful from 1964 up to now, and we have to harness this peace that we have been enjoying as a country,” he said.
Meanwhile, speaking when he introduced the new PF Western Provincial leadership in Mongu, Tuesday, Mwila bragged that the PF could win any election in the province, as witnessed from the election results obtained from Mangango and Kaoma by-elections.
“I want to tell you where we have reached: Western Province is not a stronghold for UPND! We have penetrated and you saw we won Mangango. We have been wining local government elections, councillors. We saw what happened in Kaoma; it was because of violence! They brought thugs from Kanyama intimidating our people. We lost by 152 votes; it means that we have made inroads. So, it is not their stronghold. Any time, we can hammer them!” said Mwila.
“So, our colleagues, for them to win elections, they have to intimidate people; they have to cause violence, but we are not going to [use] that route ourselves. Ourselves, is to explain to the people what we going to do for them because the people of Zambia want development.”