SOME Lusaka youths yesterday sent police on a wild goose chase when they held their much anticipated protest from an undisclosed location.
A furious Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja claimed he was aware of the location of the protests soon after a widely-watched live stream commenced on Facebook, but the protest ended without any interruption from the police.
Lusaka citizens woke up to heavy police presence in most parts of the central business district including Arcades Shopping Mall, where protestors usually assemble.
Heavily armed police were seen conducting motorised and foot patrols in major highways as they searched for the location where the protesting youths were assembled.
One of the organisers of the protest, Fumbe Chama a.k.a Pilato, mocked the police by posting their picture on Facebook with a caption that read: “One day the people will ask…. ‘why were the police on the streets of lusaka with guns?’ And then the story will be told about how the young people of this country mobilised the police to march on their behalf. Thank you Bwana Officers for joining us in the protest.”
As police proceeded with their search, the youths who were clad in black posted a livestream of their activities from an undisclosed location that looked like a bush.
Speaking through a livestream that was watched by over 12,000 viewers, Pilato said it was gratifying that the police decided to protest on behalf of the youths.
“We have decided to protest from the bush because the streets in our own country have become so dangerous for the people of this same country. The streets have become so dangerous for young people to walk and protests. It’s like young people have become less human beings because they do not agree or do not support certain decisions that have been taken by the government. In their bid to express themselves, they have been reduced to lesser human beings in our own country. We have been called names, we have been called stupid, we have been called disgruntled, and we have been called a number of things,” Pilato said.
Pilato said the youths would not give up on their agenda to speak for Zambia.
“[Just] because we wanted to express ourselves, we have been told that our bones will be broken and that we will be met with the new equipment that was acquired by the police. We have refused to be scared, we’ve refused to be intimidated by those who have been given power to govern and manage our resources and our affairs. We are here because we have refused to be cowards. We have refused to give up on a country that we love. We have refused as young people to give up on mother Zambia. We are not asking for pity [but] we are asking for our voices to be heard. Just because we are young people doesn’t mean that we are stupid. Just because we are young people doesn’t mean that we have nothing to say. We have not gathered in the streets because we are endangered,” he said.
Pilato also said youths would not allow themselves to be turned into cadres for them to get jobs.
“We are tired. We don’t want to become cadres for us to get businesses. We want to get jobs. We want to speak but they are threatening us. We have decided to come in the bush to express ourselves and obviously to interact with nature and our ancestors who lost their lives for this country. We are appealing to every young person there who wants to be part of this protest not to go in the streets but let the police do the protesting for us. Young person put on your black attire and do a live stream from wherever you are. Protest from your backyard, protest from your home because this is your voice. No matter how much they threaten you, they will not take away your power to speak and you shall be heard,” he said.
And musician Brian Bwembya also known as B-Flow encouraged the youths from all corners of the country to conduct a social media protest.
“When they go low, we go high. They carry bullets, machetes, and weapons and all we carry is hope and our voices that Zambia will be heard. The youths of this country want to be heard. When you feel like a foreigner in your own country, you resort to going in the bush or in your backyard or in your bedroom for you to have a protest and speak out. Carry that placard and put up a message that they should hear you,” B-Flow said.
Meanwhile, as the protest was going on, Kanganja warned that the “unlucky ones would have themselves to blame”.
“We are already on the ground. It’s along Tokyo Ring Road. It was just for a short time. Patrols continue. we are also aware that they are streaming from some bush around Chalala. The unlucky ones will have to blame themselves. The police will deal with them accordingly,” said Kanganja.