POLICE in Mpulungu have denied granting a permit to PF-UPND pact cadres who had wanted to hold a solidarity march to celebrate their victory in Kasama Central.
The cadres were yesterday planning to hold celebrations slated for today for their Kasama Central by – election victory but their plans were thwarted by police in the area.
In a statement co-signed by the pact’s district chairman Reuben Chisenga and District Secretary Muchinzi Mwazya, the two party officials stated that the solidarity march would not go ahead as planned.
And in a separate interview, Mr Mwazya expressed disappointment that police had infringed on their constitutional rights to assemble and freely express their feelings by denying them a permit.
He dismissed some of the reasons advanced by police to deny them a permit as flimsy.
Mr Mwazya, who also the Pact Secretary, said among the many reasons given by police were that the celebrations could have triggered a counter reaction from MMD cadres that could have endangered peace in the township.
He however noted that a celebration was not a protest of any kind and felt that police had treated his members unfairly because if MMD had won, they would have been allowed to celebrate without any restrictions.
Mr Mwazya also pointed out that it wouldn’t have been possible for the PF-UPND pact to have given police a seven day notice in advance as they were claiming because it was not clear who would emerge victorious in Kasama.
” The PF-UPND pact will now watch closely and with interest on how police will react if MMD wins any by-election in the near future. We shall closely observe how they are going to handle such a case,” Mr Mwazya stated.
Mwazya appealed to police to be professional and discharge their duties in the public interest.
He further added that his members were saddened because they had been denied a chance to celebrate together with their colleagues in Kasama, saying the Kasama central by- election was an important victory for the PF-UPND pact.
Efforts to get a comment from police in the area proved futile by press time.
The PF-UPND pact’s candidate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba on Friday won the Kasama central by-election with 10 688 votes and was followed by MMD’s Burton Mugala who got 4184 votes.