THE Zambia Police has advised members of the public to celebrate the victory of their preferred candidates in a responsible and peaceful manner in order to avoid violence.
In a statement, Sunday, Police spokesperson Esther Katongo noted that there was an emerging tendency of violence erupting in some instances as a result of others failing to contain emotions.
She cited examples of the violence which occurred in Nakonde District and Lusaka’s Bauleni Compound.
“As members of the public continue receiving or waiting for results at different levels, we appeal to them to remain calm and celebrate the victory of their preferred candidates in a responsible and peaceful manner without breaching the peace. We have observed an emerging tendency in some instances where violence has erupted as a result of others failing to contain emotions and end up attacking those seen celebrating the victory of their candidates. Some of such occurrences were experienced in Nakonde District where violence erupted after the victory of the Patriotic Front Parliamentary Candidate and those celebrating were attacked by suspected UPND cadres leaving one with a gunshot wound while another bullet went through the windscreen of a motor vehicle belonging to the Patriotic Front Parliamentary candidate,” Katongo stated.
“The victim has been identified as Jeffrey Simovwa. This occurred on 14th August, 2021 around 13:00 hours at Ntindi Village in Chief Waitwika. The victim was rushed to the Tanzanian side at a nearby clinic for medical attention. This led to a crossfire as some suspected Patriotic Front cadres who were also illegally armed are also reported to have reacted by firing at the opposing side leading to one member of the public being shot and wounded.”
Katongo noted that some people were abusing firearms whenever they had political altercations.
“A similar incident happened in Lusaka’s Bauleni Compound, in which suspected UPND cadres were celebrating the victory of their Candidates at Parliamentary and local government level and were allegedly attacked by suspected Patriotic Front cadres. A firearm is alleged to have been discharged by a Patriotic Front cadre identified as Pelekani Zulu also known as Tom Tiger. Military personnel moved in and apprehended the suspect and a firearm, pistol was recovered. The matter is being investigated while the suspect is in police custody,” she said.
“It has been observed that some people who have legally obtained firearms have begun abusing such firearms whenever they have political altercations. We are reminding everyone that according to provisions of the Public Order Act, it is an offence to attend a public gathering whilst armed with an offensive weapon including a gun. Furthermore, the Firearms Act criminalizes abuse of legally acquired firearms.”
Katongo further warned that security wings had been strategically deployed to deal with those who intended to cause violence during the electoral process.
“We are therefore warning all those in this tendency to desist or be arrested and prosecuted. We further warn those with intentions of causing violence such as damaging government and private property during or after the electoral process that they risk being arrested and prosecuted. Personnel from Defence and Security wings have been strategically deployed to thwart such plans and they will remain vigilant to ensure that law and order prevails throughout the electoral process,” said Katongo.