UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has called on members of the public to protect and defend each other against any form of attacks.

And Hichilema has urged Zambians to liberate themselves by voting for the UPND in the coming election.

During a press briefing, Thursday, Hichilema expressed concern over the recent harassment of a civil servant by suspected PF supporters.

He urged the public to protect and defend each other in the meantime, before the change of government.

“They started with HH [and] UPND members. Yesterday it was Shelly, today it will be your neighbour, tomorrow it is you. Defend each other in the meantime before the change of government on August 12, when the State instruments, resources and leadership under UPND will defend the people of Zambia without exception. For now, protect each other, protect yourselves because what is happening cannot be allowed. The continued systematic harassment of those in the civil service, those that work for the people of Zambia even under difficult conditions, delayed salaries, of course low salaries and other challenges that they have been facing and this includes those that work for local government, quasi government and indeed the private sector, we are not just watching, we are concerned. We sympathise with our civil servants, teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers, men and women in uniform and other classes of civil servants, please hear us out,” Hichilema said.

“We sympathise with you for the systematic deliberate threats, intimidation, violence, humiliation against you that we have seen over months, over years. The suffering that you are going through under the PF regime. You may think that the country has turned its eyes, ears and senses away from you, we are with you. We saw what happened to madam Shelly Chatuba, an employee of the Ministry of Works who was threatened by known PF thugs. They had the guts to walk into the office and they did not do it in privacy they made sure that they were filmed, they made sure that the media was aware of their evil intentions. They executed their evil intentions, harassed Shelly, called her names, dragged her out of her office, took her to the permanent secretary and literally flogged her. It cannot be allowed to continue this way.”

Hichilema reiterated that PF had failed the people of Zambia.

“Some are saying that ‘the PS did nothing’ if he did something to protect Shelly, the permanent secretary would have been flogged as well. They would have been accused of being UPND as well. How can this happen and we believe there is leadership in this country? There is no leadership. That is why things are happening like that. Yes, the permanent secretary would have done something but I can bet he was dead scared because people are scared in offices. Why are they scared? This hooliganism, this thuggery, no one is in charge anymore. I have a message to the PF, the whole PF rank and file that you have failed the people of Zambia,” he said.

The UPND leader further urged Zambians to liberate themselves by voting for the UPND.

“The appeal for you citizens, August 12 is not an agenda for UPND, for HH. It is an agenda to liberate yourselves in the markets, in the taxi- ranks, in the workplaces so that no other situation as [the one which] happened to Shelly and many others who have gone quietly, mourning quietly, some are dying of depression, nothing like what happened to Shapa Wakunguma, nothing will happen of any kind. No one will be retired in national interest. We will bring back a professional civil service irrespective of a political affiliation of one who works for central government, quasi government. You will be working in an environment where you exercise your skills, training to deliver to the people of Zambia without political interference,” he said.

“No one will lose a job or be denied a job promotion or transferred to a harsh location because you are operating professionally. You will be encouraged to deliver based on your competence in your job. Aren’t those better days to look forward to? To campaign for? To vote? Free yourselves. Allow this opportunity to come your way by doing your part. You may not show it now because you will be hounded out but inside you know what to do.”

Meanwhile, Hichilema called for the immediate release of UPND officials who had been detained for almost a month.