UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says it’s not true that clashes between the UPND and PF supporters are because the two parties have not yet availed their campaign schedules for the August general elections.
On Wednesday, Police spokesperson Esther Katongo attributed the clashes by the UPND and PF cadres in Kanyama to failure by the two parties to avail their campaign schedules to the police.
But in an interview, Mucheleka accused the PF of interrupting UPND activities and causing violence.
“That is not true! The PF are to blame for the violence, you know they are the ones who are provoking the UPND and the people. We have given instructions to our supporters everywhere not to retaliate, because we have a responsibility. PF are so desperate and they know they are getting out of power. The indicators are there, they know. What was happening in John Laing? That was a UPND activity. Have you ever seen the UPND going to a PF activity? No! So, the PF are violent!” Mucheleka claimed.
“If people are not careful, we are going to have violence everywhere. They must not think that we are all cowards, we are not cowards, people can defend themselves. This is why it is important for Zambia police to behave and ensure they do the right thing by ensuring that we come to the table with ECZ and political parties, so that we agree on a structured schedule in all the 150 constituencies.”
Mucheleka said availing of the campaign schedules should be left to the Electoral Commission of Zambia and not the police.
“Do you know what is happening? The ECZ, Zambia police and political parties are expected to come to a round table and agree on a schedule on how political parties are going to be campaigning. Whether it is door to door, road show, we don’t want political parties to clash. What we expect is that under the guidance of ECZ, the police are also expected to be stakeholders, it is to sit down. For example, in Lubansenshi in Luwingu when we tried to sit down as political parties in the presence of ECZ, ECZ are the ones who said ‘for the time being we will not get your schedules even in the amidst of the COVID’. These are things that must be left to ECZ to manage, it is not even the Zambian police,” he said.
“So Katongo is just being unreasonable, and she is running away from the truth. The truth is that ECZ are the ones who run elections, elections are not run by Zambia police. It is not their mandate; it is not their mandate to interfere with the activities of political parties during the campaign period. What they need to do, if they want to have a role to play, is to see how political parties will operate under the Electoral Code of Conduct. This includes coming together at a roundtable and agreeing on a campaign schedule to avoid political parties from clashing with each other or being in the same area at the same time. That is what we expect this time around. It is the ECZ that should take that leadership, it must not even be left to Zambia police.”