UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says President Edgar Lungu’s statement in which he questioned why opposition supporters escorted Hakainde Hichilema to the Police was irresponsible and a mockery to the spirit and integrity of the presidency.

And Lusaka lawyer Mulambo Haimbe says he has written to the Judiciary to convene an inquest hearing to ascertain UPND sympathizer Joseph Kaunda’s cause of death.

In a statement, Monday, Katuka said the party expected a lot of maturity from the Head of State.

“As UPND, we find Edgar Lungu’s statement in which he questioned why UPND supporters went to escort President Hakainde Hichilema to the Police as irresponsible and a mockery to the spirit and integrity of the presidency. He also demonstrates high levels of ignorance on what constitutes fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. We wonder whether Edgar Lungu really attended a law class because as far as we are concerned, every lawyer knows that citizens have freedom of movement and association. In a political context as the case may be, it is common sense a politician of HH’s prominence cannot come to the police with his driver alone,” Katuka stated.

“Further, Mr Lungu does not seem to realize that even his own ministers who have appeared before the Anti-Corruption Commission have gone there with Patriotic Front (PF) cadres. A case in point is when Chitalu Chilufya appeared at the Subordinate Court; cadres from PF appeared in mass at the Subordinate court to offer solidarity to Dr. Chilufya. In another similar instance, scores of PF cadres accompanied Ronald Chitotela to court when he was appearing for some cases recently. We wonder whether President Lungu has directed his mind to such aforementioned activities before releasing a statement on HH. We are now left to wonder what kind of double standards and lopsided thinking Mr. Lungu is bringing to this country in times like these when lives have been lost.”

He urged President Lungu to concede if he had no capacity to govern the country.

“We expect a lot of maturity from the Head of State and to first concede that he has militarised the country and those with dissenting views do not have freedoms anymore. We also wish to express shock at the police who created unnecessary psychological harm on the mourners and our party members who gathered to pay their last respect to the late Joseph Kaunda. Police dispersed all the mourners from St. Ann’s Funeral Parlour and took over the funeral procession up to the Memorial Park. At the Memorial Park, heavily armed police tightly surrounded the mourners, a gesture which we strongly detest. From Edgar Lungu’s statement, it is now clear that Edgar Lungu is the one behind the command of all the bloody shootings of citizens. Mr Lungu’s statement coincides with Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo’s arrogant statement in which she said police cannot be given instructions by a political party; yet she is getting illegal political orders from Edgar Lungu,” stated Katuka.

“We are left to wonder why Edgar Lungu is creating a war- like atmosphere in the country. We urge Edgar Lungu to concede that he has no capacity to govern this country and immediately announce his retirement. Zambians have known peace and not the militarization of cadres we are seeing under Edgar Lungu’s leadership. If his handlers are cheating him for their economic survival reasons, let him realize that they are ill-informed on how to make a non-saleable candidate like Mr Lungu sale. There is no magic that Edgar Lungu will create to win the 2021 polls. Shooting innocent unarmed citizens won’t secure him power. When we form government, we shall ensure caderism and militarization of the police is ameliorated.”

And Haimbe hoped the inquest would be convened urgently in the interest of the family and the general public.

“I have received a press query regarding the request for an inquiry that has been made by family of the late Joseph Kaunda who was on the people who lost his life on the 23rd December 2020. It is believed at the hands of the police. I confirm that yes we have written as advocates on behalf of the family to the Judiciary to convene an inquest hearing to ascertain the cause of death of the deceased Mr Joseph Kaunda. For the interest for the members of the public, an inquest is a lawful process that is undertaken pursuant to chapter 36 of the laws of Zambia by which the neutral third party the court sitting as the corona inquires into the death by hearing evidence from various persons including the police and witnesses,” said Haimbe.

“This is a neutral process which ensures that no persons who are interested in the cause of death take charge of the inquiry . So the family made this request because it is unhappy with the possibility of the police who are implicit in this whole process investigating themselves. They do not believe a proper process can be undertaken that way. And so they have invoked the clear provisions of the law which allows them to request where there has been a violent death or unnatural under sections 3 and 4 of the said inquest act chapter 36 of the law of Zambia for the courts to do the investigation . And it is our prayer that this inquest be convened urgently in the interest of the family and the general public because this is matter which has garnered a lot of public interest.”