THE UPND has demanded the release of its deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka and two other officials arrested for aggravated robbery and malicious damage to public property, saying the grounds they have been arrested for are fake and unreasonable.

In a statement, Tuesday, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma stated that the trio were merely trying to unearth the continued issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) to foreigners and under-age children.

“The UPND demands the immediate and unconditional release of party deputy secretary general for politics, Patrick Mucheleka, National Youth Information and Publicity Secretary Samuel Ngwira and Lukashya constituency campaign manager Elias Mubanga, who now stand accused of a non-bailable offense of aggravated robbery. We are worried that the amount of desperation from the ruling PF might lead to chaos,” Kakoma stated.

“We find the grounds on which our officials have been arrested to be fake and unreasonable because the trio were merely trying to unearth and bring to light the continued issuance of NRCs to foreigners and underage children. We can’t have a country where the ruling elite are swift to unleash the police on innocent citizens by slapping them with flimsy, trumped-up and politically-motivated charges, such as this one. We, therefore, call for the expeditious release of the incarcerated leaders.”

He cautioned President Edgar Lungu not to take Zambia’s peace for granted.

“From the onset, we have observed that the PF, in its desperate attempts to cling to power, have resorted to desperate measures, such as the issuance of NRCs to both under-age and foreigners, particularly those from our neighbouring countries – a move we have strongly condemned as being a threat to the security of the nation. We wonder what legacy President Lungu wants to leave behind because, undoubtedly, he will go down in the annals of history as the most ruthless tyrant Zambia has ever had! We wish to send a very strong warning to the PF and Edgar Lungu not to take the peace Zambia has had for granted, especially as the country heads to the 2021 tripartite elections in a few months’ time. The PF further need to be reminded that posterity would judge them harshly should we fail to exercise the utmost restraint and tolerance,” stated Kakoma.