UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has charged that the two people who were shot dead by police yesterday were killed by snippers who were planted to kill innocent citizens.
And police have arrested 21 UPND cadres for conduct likely to cause the breach of peace.
Meanwhile, police in Lusaka have warned and cautioned Hichilema for conspiracy to defraud, in connection with the purchase of a farm he bought in 2004 in Kalomo.
There was heavy presence of armed police officers at force headquarters and surrounding areas yesterday as Hichilema appeared for an interrogation.
The police used the newly acquired riot armoured vehicles to barricade all roads that lead to police headquarters, barring even journalists from accessing the premises.
At around 10:00 hours, prior to Hichilema’s arrival, a convoy of buses loaded with UPND sympathises was seen passing through the High Court roundabout.
Riot police immediately swung into action, warning the cadres to stay away.
Initially, officers fired teargas canisters and flashbangs to disperse the UPND cadres who were slowly increasing in number around the High Court area before they decided to change tactics and resorted to firing live ammunition.
Some other police officers used the same tactics on crowds that had assembled outside the Ministry of Justice building and at Cabinet Office.
Before long, gun shots were heard from the Ministry of Justice offices. At the height of the chaos, two people were discovered dead, shot in the head.
Some government workers from Ministry of Works and Supply, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice were seen weeping uncontrollably after discovering that one of the men lying lifeless was state prosecutor Nsama Nsama.
Nsama was shot while getting breakfast at a restaurant within the Ministry of Justice premises. A team of forensic officers arrived at the scene within an hour and examined the body for more than two hours before it was taken to UTH mortuary.
A young UPND supporter, Joseph Kaunda, was also discovered lying lifeless around the same area.
Meanwhile, a number of UPND supporters were seen being beaten.
When Hichilema, who was interrogated for close to five hours, was puzzled to learn about what had transpired while he was being questioned.
He held a briefing at the UPND secretariat where he charged that only a snipper could kill people in that manner.
“We are concerned with the police outside that police headquarters. All the way from our residence, up to the force headquarters, they were waging war against citizens. They were using citizens’ equipment, guns, heavy machinery against citizens. That’s not what a country that is properly run does against its citizens. Amidst hunger, the police outside clearly were acting under instructions to injure people. As a result, a lot of people are injured. And if you check in the manner that they have been killed, all of them shot in the head by snipers. By specialist people. Those of us who understand this industry know that those were specialist individuals that were planted in the crowd to kill people,” Hichilema charged.
“You don’t lead a country like that. People don’t need bullets in their heads. What they need is food. That’s what we intend to deliver to the people of Zambia, not bullets, not machine guns and not heavy machinery which was specially imported using people’s money to work against the people. I have never understood what the PF stands for. I have never understood.”
He said the deaths of those slain by police would not be in vain.
“And today with many people injured, people were waylaid, I was waylaid from the house. Many people were waylaid in this town today intentionally and many people are injured. Using their own guns, guns that are supposed to be used to protect citizens. Worse still a number of people have been killed we don’t know how many. We are aware that amount the dead is a member, Joseph Kaunda, our member our supporter. I have never understood when people fail to provide leadership, how far they can go. Another individual we are aware has been killed is a prosecutor. A government worker by the name of Nsama Nsama who has left young children,” said Hichilema.
“Killed by his own government, the government that he worked for. We offer our condolences to the family of Kaunda and the family of Nsama. Your death will not be in vain. There will be change of government come August 2021. So, we can save more citizens from being killed, we have lost too many already. Today was not a day to kill citizens, you call me to the police, I obliged as I always do. Why kill citizens? Let us nurse the injured and let us bury the dead with full knowledge that ifi fyonse fikapwa (it will all end.)”
Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja issued a statement, saying investigations had been launched to ascertain how exactly two people were shot dead.
“As you may be aware, police summoned the president of the United Party for National Development, (UPND) Mr Hakainde Hichilema to police service headquarters for an interview. Prior to his appearing, police as well as the Minister of Home Affairs had advised people to stay away to avoid break down in law and order. However, this morning as Mr Hichilema was coming to police headquarters, he was being escorted by a huge crowd which was dispersed by police officers from Cabinet Office area on independence avenue, High Court and other notable areas such as civic center,” stated Kanganja, Wednesday.
“In the process of dispersing the unruly crowd using tear smoke canisters, two people were reported to have been shot dead in unknown circumstances which we are yet to establish. Investigations in the shooting have been instituted to establish the circumstances in which the two victims were shot. We shall wait for forensic examinations so as to ascertain what type of firearm was used and the public shall be informed on the findings and way ahead. Police officers will remain on the ground to monitor the security situation. We appeal to members of the public to remain calm during this period and should not take the law into their own hands.”
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo said Hichilema had been warned and cautioned for conspiracy to defraud.
“It is alleged that Mr Hichilema who introduced himself as a community worker based in Lusaka whilst acting together with other unknown persons, fraudulently purchased a property, Sub-division “A” of farm number 1924 in Kalomo district belonging to the late Samson Siatembo, purporting that at the time of purchase, the Administrator of the property in question consented to the sale by appending her signature when in fact not. This is alleged to have occurred at unknown date in 2004,” stated Katongo, adding that “Police arrested 21 protesting UPND cadres for Conduct Likely to Cause the Breach of Peace and have impounded three buses which were carrying the protesting cadres.”