FORMER United Party for National Development (UPND) Vice President Richard Kapita has said the alleged training of militia by his former party is a sign that the opposition party is not willing to concede defeat in the August 11 general elections.
Mr Kapita, who is now Patriotic Front (PF) Central Committee chairperson for tourism, arts and culture, said in an interview yesterday that the alleged actions of the UPND were a desperate ploy in view of an impending defeat in the elections.
The UPND was alleged to be training about 250 youths in Lusaka as militias to destabilise the country after the elections. The 21 suspected UPND cadres apprehended by the police at the weekend were suspected by the law enforcement agency to be part of the said battalion.
Mr Kapita said it was unfortunate for the opposition party to resort to violence while the country was recognised as a global beacon of peace.
“The training of the militia by UPND shows desperation of the highest order after realising that President Edgar Lungu will win the August 11 elections by more than 60 per cent.
“The UPND wants to portray a picture that the elections will be rigged and that is why they have resorted to these desperate measures,” he said.
Mr Kapita appealed to the opposition party’s leadership to restrain its cadres from perpetrating mischief.
“My appeal to the UPND leadership is that Zambians are peace-loving people and we would rather have peace than a president who says there will be no peace unless I am president. Zambians are mature enough and certainly they cannot vote for such a president,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) overseer Peter Ndhlovu has suggested that anyone spearheading militias in their party structures is a danger to peace and should be imprisoned.
Bishop Ndhlovu said in a separate interview that President Lungu’s allegation that the UPND was training a military force should be taken seriously as it was based on intelligence information.
He said any political party plotting to take the law into its own hands ahead of the elections had realised that it was facing the prospect of defeat.
“The President said it and such a pronouncement should be taken seriously because it is based on an intelligence report. “We cannot have militia people in this country and that (UPND) group should be disbanded immediately and the people behind it must be caged,” Bishop Ndhlovu said.
During the raid of a gymnasium in Villa Elizabetha in Lusaka, police seized assorted offensive weapons and drugs.
Inspector General of Police, Kakoma Kanganja said yesterday that the 21 suspected UPND cadres apprehended at UPND vice-president for administration Geoffrey Mwamba’s premises on Saturday would be prosecuted in the courts of law.
Mr Kanganja said the arrest of the 21 people should serve as an eye-opener that the law enforcement agency would not relent in its quest to maintain law and order.
“All the suspects found wanting will be taken to court and prosecuted in accordance with what the law stipulates. This is an eye-opener that all those wanting to destabilise the country will be dealt with full force because we won’t watch people take for granted the peace that this country has been enjoying,” he said.