COPPERBELT Province Police Commissioner Elias Chushi says police have only blocked UPND presidential running mate Mutale Nalumango from entering the province, and not Hakainde Hichilema.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Wednesday, Hakainde Hichilema posted that “they can block us from going to the Copperbelt but they can’t block the Copperbelt from voting for us”.
And in another post, he stated; “Kopala, batu bloka nafuti!!!!! (They have blocked us again). But Bally will be on radio pa 10:00 hours. The whole country will be tuned in. The whole list of syndicated radio stations will be shared shortly.”
But when asked if Hichilema was blocked, Chushi denied it and explained that the police only blocked Nalumango because there was no notification.
“Where are you getting these reports from? When was he blocked? The only person we blocked is Mutale Nalumango because there was no notification. Members of the public have been urged, even though there are campaign timetables, they are supposed to notify the police. But they just want to gather and start addressing people or carrying out roadshows. We have not heard about the UPND leader, only his running mate, Nalumango,” said Chushi.
But in an interview, UPND Alliance partner Josephs Akafumba accused President Edgar Lungu of not being fair to the opposition parties.
“President Lungu’s conduct especially during the last three weeks has not only been unfair to democracy in this country but a factor in the shrinking of democratic space. It is a known fact that we are in the campaign period. It is him who broke the COVID rules and started the distribution of masks, so we also followed suit because it is a noble cause. Now, being fully aware that people have rejected PF and President Lungu, any opposition leader who tries to go anywhere, he blocks,” Akafumba said.
“Our alliance President has been arrested more than 15 times by President Lungu, one of them being a trumped-up charge of treason. Each time president Hakainde wants to go to the Copperbelt, President Lungu rushes there. Immediately he hears that Hichilema wants to go to the Copperbelt, he abandons whatever he was doing, he rushes to the Copperbelt. The whole of last week, he was in and out of Copperbelt. Hichilema was in Southern Province and wanted to travel there, but the police were ordered to block him. Another incident is that he was denied flying rights by the Zambia Airforce on instructions of President Lungu as the Commander-in-Chief.”
Akafumba said the Head of State was scared of Hichilema.
“President Lungu is scared, no doubt about it. When he was addressing the miners in Copperbelt last week, he said he was going to arrest HH, it shows you the fear he has for HH. If at all he committed an offence, why did he fail to arrest him? But the ground has shifted. I was in the Copperbelt with president (Felix) Mutati, we were blocked in every town by the police. President Lungu fears that people have now known that PF are failures and they can no longer be trusted. His greatest fear is that when he exposes HH to the people, he will get more people but he is missing the point. The people have already made up their minds even if HH does not go there,” said Hichilema.
“Our incoming vice-president Nalumango was also blocked and beaten in Northern Province. This has not been fair. This is the only time that President Hakainde can go out and tell the people what he will offer in the alternative to the destructive PF regime. President Lungu made sure that Hichilema did not try to enter the Copperbelt. It has not been a fair playing field and this has not been the trade of democracy. I don’t think President Lungu fits into being a true democrat. The consolation that the Zambian people have is that you only have a few hours, people must turn out and vote him out so that he can rest in Chawama.”