PF DEPUTY secretary general Mumbi Phiri has urged police to arrest Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo and Higher Education Minister Dr Brian Mushimba for defying COVID-19 guidelines because they are not above the law.

And Phiri says the police should arrest members of the ruling party using “ECL 2021” number plates because the practice is illegal.

Speaking during a press briefing in Lusaka, Tuesday, Phiri wondered why the police were not arresting senior members of the ruling party for repeatedly defying the COVID-19 guidelines.

“We are living under very difficult circumstances, we are living under the health guidelines of COVID-19. As a responsible leader in the PF, I just had to call you as the media because I know you are going to disseminate information across the country and people are going to know. I don’t know why the police are letting people in COVID when we have health guidelines. If it is me who is holding a press briefing, I call ichi ntinta ngombe cha bantu at the secretariat (crowds), come and arrest me if I have broken the law. We saw with dismay the crowds, which our Honourable member of parliament, who is a provincial minister in Lusaka, Bowman Lusambo, pulled on the Copperbelt that is not under the new normal. You, as the police, what are you doing? Are you scared of arresting us as leaders? We saw the same with our Minister of (Higher) Education when we have a high number of people dying from COVID in Mufulira, you go and have such a crowd? Police help Honourable Kampyongo and save his name! I am sure he is not issuing you instructions not to arrest us leaders when we break the laws. Nobody is above the law and I challenge you if you see me as deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri breaking the law, come and arrest me,” Phiri said.

“Next time, don’t spare anyone, be it Honourable Bowman Lusambo, be it whoever, be it Honourable Brian Mushimba; if he breaks the law, especially over COVID, arrest them so that you show us an example. And I am sure the people of Zambia are going to have confidence in you. The President has talked over and over again. Ba police, as you did at the Magistrates’ Court where you beat our PF cadres for breaking the law, do the same to us leaders when we break the law.”

And Phiri complained that the police were putting the party under unnecessary criticism when they allowed vehicles with “ECL 2021” number plates to roam around the streets freely and pass through road blocks unchecked.

She told law enforcement officers that the practice was illegal and needed to be stopped.

“I am urging the police to please help us apprehend anybody who is using such a vehicle. As you already know, as PF, we respect the three wings of government, which are the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive. The legislature, through Parliament, have already ruled on the floor of the House that using a vehicle with no number plate, you put a number plate like ‘ECL, CK, HH’ is not allowed by the law in Zambia. And why should people be always talking about the police? Honourable Stephen Kampyongo, who is a member of central committee and at the same time Minister of Home Affairs, is not only minister for the police, he is the minister for Immigration (Department); he is a minister for the prison service, he is a minister in other departments and because they are doing the right thing, they are not being talked about as much as Zambia Police,” said Phiri.

“Honestly speaking, you know that even as a party we have not allowed anybody to be using a number plate ‘ECL.’ You let them pass through the roadblocks, putting us under unnecessary criticism from our citizens as if we allow illegalities. And to our members: whoever will try to come with a vehicle to the secretariat with a number plate ‘ECL’ it is us as the secretariat who are going to call the police to come and arrest you from our premises. Never should you try to come with an ‘ECL’ number plate. If the police allow you I don’t know what law they are using, use them on the roads where the police have the jurisdiction to arrest you.”

Meanwhile, UPND member Royd Moonga defected to the PF.