UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says the party will write to the international community, including the United Nations and the Commonwealth, on the continued arrest of its members.
And Katuka says it is not right that his members are living in constant fear of arrest in a country which is supposed to be a democracy.
In the past two months, the party has seen the arrest of its deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka for aggravated robbery, Sesheke member of parliament Romeo Kangombe for abduction and assault of a police officer and on Saturday, 27 UPND cadres were arrested during the Independence Day celebrations for unlawful assembly.
Commenting on these arrested in an interview, Katuka said the party would appeal for help from the international community.
“We need to inform the international community, they may be aware of what is happening maybe from newspapers but this is not enough. We as the affected people are required to do a formal complaint, we will definitely do a formal complaint to the UN, to the Commonwealth, to the African Union and to other international communities to show our displeasure in the manner in which we are being governed in this country. The international community are aware of what is happening in Zambia. I believe they are watching and they are listening to what is happening. The only thing maybe, they want to see us as the affected citizens to react, if we react they will realise that we are serious and we mean business. Zambia has been independent for 56 years, this is the worst time in the history of Zambia. So, we need to formally write to the international community because we can reach the elections and they will still be arresting our people,” Katuka said.
“I can compare how [Roy] Welensky looked after us, I can also compare how [Dr Kenneth] Kaunda looked after us, I can also compare how Chiluba looked after us. This is the worst time in the history of this country before independence and after independence. If Zambians take it as life as usual, they will get a rude shock as to where this PF is going to take them. When it is happening to us, others even call us cry babies until it finds them because it starts with one person and it will move to another person. [Chishimba] Kambwili is there, from Kambwili they will move to another one then all of us will be in trouble.”
And Katuka said UPND members were now living in fear of being arrested at any time.
“That is the Zambia we are in now, how do you arrest people on independence? You see this is Independence Day and people go to celebrate. It is the same government that was sending messages to all of us to attend and now people go there and they are arrested. So what democracy is in Zambia? There is no democracy, there are no freedoms for the people because the country has turned into a police state. We move around and we are in fear of being arrested anytime. You leave your home and you can be arrested, even when you are sleeping, your house can be raided because we are in an autocratic government,” said Katuka.
“We have a police state where the police are more superior than anyone else. The citizens are subservient to the police. So the police can decide to arrest you anytime for no reason and nobody can protect you because the police are the ones to protect us. Now they are not there, they are there to hammer us. We need to stand up as Zambians, we have no police to defend us. It is the police who are arresting us everyday so they will not be there for us, we need to defend ourselves. We have no responsible government in place. The unfortunate part is that these criminals have regrouped and their agenda is to rip this country of its wealth and maintain power. The freedoms and liberty of the people have gone, the rule of law is gone, so what country are we in?”