POLICE in Muchinga Province have arrested five UPND members for unlawful assembly after a report from a concerned citizen.

According to Muchinga Province Police Commissioner Joel Njase, the five were arrested on Saturday after Chama Police Station received a report from a concerned member of the public who said there was unlawful assembly organized by some suspected members of UPND in Chabala village, Chief Kambombo in Chama District.

Njase said around 11:00 hours on December 12, two UPND members namely Laston Nyirenda aged 57 and Raphael Phiri aged 60 both of Chipata District in Eastern Province went to Chama District where they organized a meeting in Chabala village, Chief Kambombo, District Chama without notifying the police after which a team of police officers rushed to Chabala village and managed to apprehend the two suspects and three other UPND members who were at the said meeting.

The suspects were detained at Chama Police Station for further investigations and a UPND branded Toyota Mark II Registration number AAX 2193 which was being used by the suspects was impounded and parked at Chama police station.

By press time, the suspects were still in custody.

But in an interview, UPND Eastern Province chairperson Johabie Mtonga wondered why party members should be arrested for holding private meetings.

“You see what, Chama [police] are becoming very funny, it’s like Chama, according to us is administered to the Eastern Province so any member that goes to Chama, even myself if I go to Chama police, they will [be] caged which is not the way it’s supposed to be because the truth of the matter is that we are doing voter registration exercise, now we are trying to go and tell our people to register as voters then the policemen are saying you don’t have permits. A person like myself, I am busy in my house trying to talk to my members, should I need to have a permit? The answer is no,” he said.

He said the members arrested in Chama were followed after the meeting had already finished.

“Police are supposed to be professional. What I do understand, this is not police force. Like the incident which happened yesterday, those people went to Chama to go and tell them that this voter registration is coming to an end meaning yesterday and they did, the meeting finished, look at the police, they were following the people after the meeting had already finished that no you didn’t have a permit and now we are going to cage you, is that the way the police should be behaving?” asked Mtonga.