UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says the only way to restore confidence in the Zambia Police Service is to remove President Edgar Lungu, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja from their positions.

And Hichilema says the public has lost confidence in the police because President Lungu has continued to abuse the institution to infringe on people’s rights to freely assemble.

Meanwhile, Hichilema has accused Kampyongo and the police of trying to assassinate him during the chaos that rocked the capital city last Wednesday.

In an interview, Hichilema said that President Lungu’s decision to dismiss Bonny Kapeso and Eugene Sibote as deputy inspector generals of police was not the solution to restore public confidence because the main culprits were still functioning.

“You can’t sanitise this thing by getting rid of Eugene Sibote, Kapeso. Kapeso was actually trying to act professionally because he was stopping PF cadres. Now it is a message Mr Lungu is sending that he would like PF cadres protected and not touched; he would like policemen who are PF cadres wearing police uniforms to continue killing people. That is the message Lungu has sent. I am saying in a nutshell, it is Mr Lungu issuing instructions to Kampyongo, and Kampyongo issuing instructions to Kanganja, and Kanganja issuing instructions to the rank and file to kill innocent and harmless citizens,” Hichilema said.

“From Lungu’s statement signed by (Isaac) Chipampe, Lungu he is admitting guilt. Mr Lungu is admitting guilt, he confirms now that after killing so many people that the police have lost the confidence of the public. He is confirming that innocent citizens were killed under his command, under Kanganja, under Kampyongo. Now, the culprits remain and the operatives who were working under instructions are taken out, what does that mean? It means there is no solution. What Mr Lungu did is not a solution, he is the problem himself. He is the one who has been denying citizens the freedoms of assembly, abusing the Public Order Act.”

And Hichilema dismissed President Lungu’s police reshuffles as “window dressing and a smokescreen,” demanding that the people who killed State prosecutor Nsama Nsama and UPND sympathiser Joseph Kaunda must be arrested.

“That Wednesday, citizens were hunted like wild animals, helicopters flying over like we have an external enemy. One would have thought that they are rebels that entered Lusaka, the way Mr Lungu and his command structure under Kampyongo and Kanganja organized that day, it was premeditated to kill all of us and assassinate all of us, including myself! They have admitted through their statement. What they are doing is window dressing. Kampyongo must resign, Kanganja must resign, if they don’t resign, they must be fired! If Mr Lungu has a grain of leadership in him, which I doubt, he must fire Kanganja and Kampyongo. Firing Sibote and Kapeso is a smokescreen. He himself has failed to provide leadership and the Zambian people will fire him in August, 2021. They will remove him from office. So, he has done nothing there; he has only admitted guilt and he has failed to take action to correct it,” Hichilema said.

“People need jobs, the youths need businesses and not tear gas; the retirees need to be given their benefits and not to have their grandchildren being killed by Mr Lungu, Kampyongo and Kanganja. The ‘three musketeers’ Mr Lungu, Kampyongo and Kanganja remain in their positions, then you remove the ‘small fish,’ who are you cheating? Muti vala ka blacket pa manso? (You are putting a blanket on our heads?) Zambians can see through the blankets. You can’t cover Zambians with a blanket over their faces. You fire Kapeso so that you can pretend that you have a solution, you don’t have a solution. The killers must be arrested. The killing machine is run by Mr Lungu, Kampyongo and Kanganja and a few elements of rogue PF cadres. Rogue elements of PF cadres wearing police uniforms. That is the killing machine. What Lungu has done does not dismantle the killing machine. I invite the people of Zambia that there is no other situation than that Wednesday that should tell you that this PF government is not just making us poor, is not only denying us jobs, is not only dividing us, it is also killing us. Zambians, open your eyes and ears, what was being hidden is now open!”

He said Zambians had lost confidence in the police because President Lungu had continued to abuse the institution to infringe on people’s right to freely assemble.

“Why have citizens lost confidence in the police? It is because of how Mr Lungu has abused the police to kill innocent citizens, to arrest innocent citizens all the time. He must release those that were detained and he keeps on detaining more people. Secretly, they are picking more people and detaining more people, they must release all those people. If he is truly guilty as he has put in his letter, he must release all those that are detained around the happenings of Wednesday. Forthwith, he must stop abusing the Public Order Act. Going forward, Zambians, I declare, as Zambians, we are free to exercise our constitutional rights, to move freely where we want, the Constitution grants us that freedom. So, he must stop abusing the Public Order Act by restricting political organisations, civil organisations from assembling. We should be free to assemble, to move, to speak the way we want. Through his stay in State House, he has been heavy-handed, he has used his power to kill citizens,” he said.

“Now, is it the first time for them to kill like this? No! They killed Lawrence Banda in Kaoma, his blood is on their heads. They killed Mapenzi Chibulo under Kanganja; they killed Vespers Shimuzhila, the UNZA student under Kanganja, under Kampyongo. All these killings have happened under Kampyongo. Look at the gassing incidents: over 50 people died. The police were working under Kampyongo and under Kanganja. People were killed, some by mobs, some by the police, yet gassing was a PF scheme and they tried to align the opposition under Mr Lungu. Several other people have died, look at the attacks they injected on us in Sesheke.”

Hichilema said President Lungu had failed to show leadership by insisting on maintaining Kampyongo and Kanganja in their positions.

“So, what we are saying is that Mr Lungu, through Kampyongo, through Kanganja, stop killing innocent citizens! Stop murdering, executing innocent citizens. I can assure you that to address these issues, God’s will, courtesy of the people of Zambia, change of government is coming, it will come, it is coming. In 2021, there will be no such killings under the UPND leadership because we will provide leadership. What is not there under Mr Lungu is leadership. He has failed to provide leadership. As a consequence of his failure to provide leadership to protect citizens, he is the one killing citizens using Kampyongo, using Kanganja and the rank and file. It is him, the blood of Joseph Kaunda, the blood of Nsama Nsama is on Mr Lungu’s head, it is in his hands, it is in Kanganja’s hands, it is in Kampyongo’s hands. So, why chop a small number of people?” he wondered.

“It should be clear in the mind of Zambians that there is a breakdown in the rule of law. The people who are supposed to maintain the rule of law those in PF, those in government are the ones that are leading in breaking the rule of law. A small clique in PF has basically turned out to be the most murderous group of people. Since independence, the PF government has achieved the worst record in murdering, in executing citizens such as what happened on Wednesday; executions of citizens who were harmless. Wednesday was yet another dark day in our country; innocent citizens were murdered in execution style by those who are supposed to protect them. They were murdered with the knowledge of Mr Lungu and he conveniently went away to Mfuwe or Luangwa Valley so that behind him, citizens could be killed, but it was under his instruction. It was under the instruction of Kampyongo. So, why should Kampyongo remain in that position?”

Meanwhile, Hichilema accused Kampyongo and the police of trying to assassinate him during the chaos that rocked the capital city last Wednesday.

“Look at the statements Kampyongo made before Wednesday, it was to prepare the police to kill innocent citizens. They killed and they were even going for me around that Cabinet (Office) area where Nelson Phiri as Commissioner of Police in Lusaka blocked us there, the idea was to kill all of us in that convoy, right in front of Cabinet Office and embassies. It was under the instruction of Mr Lungu, under the instruction of Kampyongo, under what Kampyongo said to incite the police and the PF thugs, who were working in collusion with the police to kill innocent people. We were all supposed to be killed there,” charged Hichilema.

“You saw what they did to Frank Tayali, our lawyer, pointing a gun! They didn’t just point a gun; they used a gun to kill citizens under whose instruction? Under Lungu’s instruction; he is the Commander-in-Chief. Under Kampyongo, using brutal force on harmless citizens. The UPND members did not riot that day; they did what PF did in opposition. We have seen clips where Mr Sata used to go with his supporters, no one was killed, no one was assassinated. Why do you call Hakainde then you block him from going to the police to answer your call so that you can create an opportunity to assassinate him and his members and people were assassinated. It was premeditated! The command structure was clear.”