POLICE in Northern Province have arrested UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka and two others and charged them with aggravated robbery.

Confirming the development in an interview, Northern Province Police Commissioner Richard Mweene disclosed that the trio allegedly attacked a mobile NRC registration office, stole a printer and genset, among other items.

“On 13th September, 2020, at 13:00, some UPND cadres attacked and robbed a mobile NRC registration office of one printer, a genset, laminating machine, an adapter, blank NRC cards, processed NRC cards, carbon paper and a camera. In addition, they maliciously damaged three type writers and a kiosk. Thereafter, they fired two gunshots in the air and threatened people with machetes. This occurred at Chitamba village in Kasama. In connection with the matter, we have detained three people, namely, Patrick Mucheleka, aged 55 of Luwingu, Elias Mubanga, aged 53, and Samuel Ngwira, aged 42. We have charged them with offences of aggravated robbery and malicious damage to property and will appear in court soon. Their offences are non-bailable,” said Mweene.

And in a statement, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja stated UPND cadres’ behaviour was uncalled for.

“I wish to sound a strong and timely warning to the suspected United Party for National Development (UPND) Cadres who stormed a registration centre in Chitamba village in Lukashya of Northern Province on 13th September, 2020 and destroyed some machinery being used during the on -going mobile National Registration card (NRC) exercise, stealing some equipment as well as beating up officers they found at the centre. As Police, we strongly condemn the action taken by suspected UPND Cadres. We are all aware that the mobile registration exercise is not a hidden process because there has been maximum publicity about this activity way back before this process was commenced. Further, this exercise is being done in broad day light and not at night. Therefore, the action taken by UPND cadres to ransack the registration office and steal equipment is a bid draw back to this process being undertaken countrywide and can not be condoned,” Kanganja stated.

“If there are any suspicions or concerns, police are open and ready to receive complaints from anyone concerned regarding the exercise. In addition, this process has no bearing on the by-elections currently taking place in Lukanshya and Mwansabombwe Constituencies but it is being done in preparation for the 2021 general elections. It is therefore disheartening to note that Political Parties that pledged to maintain peace during and after the by elections are the ones in the forefront perpetuating violence. I wish to warn that police will follow this matter to the latter and will take punitive action against all those found wanting. Let us respect Government workers who have sacrificed to perform this noble task of serving members of the public through issuance of National Registration Cards unlike victimising them.”