PATRIOTIC Front media director Antonio Mwanza has accused the UPND of training 60,000 youths to cause violence in Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces.
But UPND secretary general Batuke Imenda says his party has no capacity to train anyone.
Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo says police in Kaoma have arrested 15 people for riotous behaviour.
Speaking at a press briefing, Thursday, Mwanza charged that the trained UPND youths planned to burn vehicles and shops to stop people from voting.
“It has come to our attention that the UPND has no interest whatsoever in peace. UPND have realized that they don’t have the numbers to win this election. They have done the calculation and they have seen that PF is far ahead. They don’t have any strongholds. And they have resorted to violence as the only way to disrupt this election and to discredit the outcome of the elections. The UPND are organising 60,000 youths in Lusaka and they want to have what you call social contract, signing these youths, they plan to do these activities on the 10th and 11th in Mandevu. The whole idea is that when they go to Mandevu with these 60,000 youths at Heroes Stadium, the whole idea is when the police go there to stop that illegal gathering, the UPND will then unleash those people into Mandevu and Matero, they will burn vehicles, they will burn people’s tuntembas (shops), they will also kill people,” Mwanza said.
“We have identified three places, one in nega nega,two in Chawama where UPND are training young people and grooming them into militia specifically to be unleashed on the 10th and 11th of August. Their aim is to disrupt peace in Lusaka and the Copperbelt so that people can’t vote…And also they want to use violence as the means to justify their loss after the elections. They want to use the violence as part of the claims they are going to use for petitioning the outcome of the general elections. And we want the media to help us send this message that they are not committed to peace.”
Mwanza said the party had since given evidence to the police.
He also charged that the UPND attacked Sioma PF aspiring members of parliament.
“As you might be aware, yesterday (Wednesday) the UPND viciously attacked our parliamentary candidate for Sioma madam Mbololwa Subulwa. They broke her house, damaged two vehicles beyond repair and beat a lot of people, members of the PF. This matter has been reported to the police. Again three days ago, the UPND beat our people in Mazabuka, assaulting two very badly and they burnt our billboards. These attacks have continued from the UPND despite them and us signing a peace pledge at Mulungushi International Conference and also signing a peace pledge with the Electoral Commission of Zambia barely three days ago,” said Mwanza.
But in a separate interview, Imenda said the allegations were false.
“Those are false allegations. Those are the desperate kicks of a dying horse. They know they are losing so they will say anything just to have public sympathy. We don’t have the capacity to train anyone. There is no need for us to be violent because you cannot beat up people that are going to vote for you. The Zambian people made up their minds to vote for the UPND. We cannot train anyone to disrupt our own victory which we are going to win hands down. Those are allegations meant to ban our party. We are not going to cause any violence. If they have evidence, let them prove it. Let them show us who is training them and for what,” said Imenda.
Meanwhile, regarding PF’s allegation that UPND was training militia, Katongo said police received a report and were investigating the matter.
“We have received a report over the same. It is a matter that needs to be investigated. So far, an inquiry has been opened in the same matter,” Katongo said in an interview.
In a separate statement, Katongo said police in Kaoma arrested 15 people for riotous behavior following reports from Subulwa and Sioma Independent member of parliament Albert Amukena.
“Police in Sioma District have arrested 15 people for malicious damage to Property and riotous behaviour. This followed counter accusations in which police received a report from the Patriotic Front aspiring Member of Parliament, Mbololwa Subulwa that she was attacked by the Sioma Independent Member of Parliament, Albert Amukena and his supporters while the Independent Sioma aspiring Parliamentary candidate also reported that he was attacked by the Sioma Patriotic Front Aspiring Member of Parliament and her supporters. Both incidents are reported to have occurred on 21st July, 2021,” she said.
“Police visited both scenes of crime and invited the two candidates who are the Independent and the Patriotic Front candidates to the police. However , the Independent Parliamentary Candidates did not turn up.
She stated that Amukena’s cadres and some UPND members tried to beat Subulwa.
“When the Patriotic Front Parliamentary Aspiring Candidate showed up at the Police, Cadres for the Independent Aspiring candidate and some UPND cadres are alleged to have gone to the police post in numbers after blocking roads and tried to attack the PF candidate but was rescued by police. The unruly cadres are alleged to have later gone to the PF’s candidate’s house where they are alleged to have broken 11 window panes to her house and damaged her motor vehicle. Police managed to apprehend 15 suspects who are in police custody for Malicious Damage to Property and riotous behavior. They will appear in court soon,” she said.
Katongo, however, stated that the service had not received any report of murder.
“We have not yet received any report of murder, however, police officers are on the ground trying to verify such reports and information will be given once verified. Police have sent reinforcement to the area and calm has been restored. They will remain on the ground to monitor the situation. Both reports received from the complainants are being investigated by police and we urge the complainants to cooperate with the police. We are appealing to politicians to show maturity and responsibility as they conduct their political activities,” stated Katongo.