Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo has refuted UPND Secretary General Stephen Katuka’s claims that two of the opposition party’s supporters were killed by PF cadres in Mongu.

In a statement, Tuesday, Katuka alleged that two UPND campaign officials had died in Kaande ward in Mongu Constituency after they were attacked by PF cadres.

Katuka further alleged that the PF armed cadres followed the UPND members and fired live ammunition, causing the vehicle they were in to overturn, killing the district deputy vice chairlady Mwendameyi Mukobela and district trustee Mbanga Mwangala.

“We wish to send a stern warning to the Patriotic Front (PF) not to stretch their luck too far with violence. We note with shock the death of our two campaign officials in Mongu who were attacked by PF cadres armed with guns, teargas canisters and all sorts of weapons. The two deceased officials have been identified as district deputy vice chairlady Ms Mwendameyi Mukobela and district Trustee Ms Mbanga Mwangala. PF went and attacked our campaign centre and later started chasing two of our vehicles with fire arms and teargas canisters. Our campaign team was attacked at the campaign centre in the Kaande ward of Mongu Central Constituency,” read the statement.

“This happened when armed PF thugs suddenly started chasing them while firing live ammunition and teargas canisters, causing the vehicle which was being driven by our provincial chairman Mr Musangu Njamba to overturn and one of campaign member Mukobela died on the spot while Mwangala died at the hospital. Our provincial youth chairperson Mbangu Mbangu and our constituency vice youth chairman Lubinda Imasiku are still in a critical condition. Our Western Province chairman Musangu is also still admitted to the hospital.”

Katuka also wondered why Mongu central UPND Member of Parliament Mwilola Imakando was arrested for malicious damage.

“Our Mongu Central Member of Parliament Honourable Mwilola Imakando got arrested when he went to report the incident to the police and was charged with a tramped up charge of malicious damage. We wish to urge the police to release him unconditionally. We wonder how police would arrest a victim who goes to report an attack,” Katuka complained.

Katuka called for the arrest of the PF cadres, failure to which the party would help them do their job.

“If this is how police will handle us, they are calling for confusion. We urge them to remain professional and apply the law equitably. Since the PF cadres involved have been identified, we call on police to immediately arrest them. If they are not arrested, we shall help them do the job. We cannot have police officers behaving like PF cadres. We urge them to remain professional and avoid creating tension in the country. For now, we urge all our members across the country to seriously defend themselves whenever they are attacked as police are not ready to protect us. Some police officers have proved to be PF aligned and unhelpful, hence the need for our members across the country to be ready to defend themselves at all times. We shall update our members across the country on any new development,” stated Katuka.

But in a separate statement, Katongo said the UPND officials died in an accident and no one was murdered.

“We wish to dispel what is being peddled in a statement purported to have come from the UPND Secretariat that two of the UPND members have been murdered in Kaande area of Mongu in Western Province. No one has been murdered in the Kaande ward by election. The names in the statement purported to have been murdered are the ones in our earlier statement who died in an accident involving a Toyota Prado and a Mercedes Benz and both vehicles. We urge all political parties to always be truthful when giving information to the public because sensational reporting has potential to bring about disorder,” stated Katongo.

“Those wishing to get more facts may get information from people in Mandanga area where the accident happened in which the two people who the UPND are reporting to have been murdered were involved. Further, there are survivors of the accident who are the vendors who were bashed from off the road by the drivers of the two vehicles involved in the accident.”

And PF media director Sunday Chanda said the UPND had resorted to dirty tactics to seek sympathy from their funders.

“We are calling on the Zambia Police to take interest in a statement by opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) secretary general Stephen Katuka in which he lies that Patriotic Front (PF) cadres armed with guns, teargas canisters and all sorts of weapons murdered two UPND campaign officials in Mongu. Mr Katuka’s statement is aimed at inciting the public especially the UPND members to engage in acts of violence leading to the breakdown of law and order. The Police should take particular interest in Mr Katuka’s statement. Mr Katuka knows that his members died in a pure accident as they rushed to the police to check on their MP who is in police custody. UPND is seeking to justify to their fatigued funders that they can pull a surprise in 2021 after losing elections five times in a row,” stated Chanda.

“The writings are on the wall UPND is losing for the sixth time in 2021 and to prove they stand any chance, they have resorted to dirty tactics. Their foreign funders have run out of patience and UPND has intensified its alarmist fake news agenda. Their thuggery now borders nothing but criminality. One of opposition’s tick boxes and conditions to continue receiving funding from their fatigued sponsors is if they can successfully fuel civil unrest and make Zambia ungovernable. UPND does not care about the peace and prosperity of Zambia. They want to usurp power at all costs even if it means leaving our nation in a bloodied ruin of ashes. But Zambians of goodwill can see through their wicked plans.”