Unruly PF cadres descended on a UPND organised rally in Shiwang’andu in Muchinga Province where the set fire to the venue of the rally and attempted to bring down a helicopter carrying UPND officials.
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was not in the helicopter that was attacked by PF cares who threw stones, sticks and other missiles at the helicopter forcing it not to land.
The violent events where reminiscent of the January 2015 events when a PF team comprising Maureen Mwanawasa and Mutale Nalumango were forced to flee Shiwang’andu after a helicopter they were flying in was attacked by PF cadres.
The skirmishes which started around 10 Hours today forced Police to fire teargas canisters to disperse the PF gangs forcing the UPND officials to abandon the rally.
And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has condemned the latest attacks on the UPND rally by PF cadres.
Mr Hichilema has since warned President Lungu that UPND members will resort to self-defence if the attacks do not stop.
“We would like to warn President Edgar Lungu that if he does not tame his cadres over these barbaric acts, we will be left without choice but defend ourselves. We have been exercising maximum restraint from the PF attacks but we will not entertain such anymore, especially after what we have witnessed here in Shiwang’andu today,” Mr Hichilema said.
He said, “Our central focus is on developing the nation, fixing our broken economy and not hacking citizens who hold divergent views like the way PF is doing it today. President Edgar Lungu must realise that this violence taking place in our country if no action is taken by him as a sitting President our country will be on fire.”
Mr Hichilema has also appealed to UPND members across the country to remain strong and not involve themselves in violent activities.
“Further we strongly condemn the barbaric acts of the PF cadres who attempted to even bring down our helicopter this afternoon. The attacks on our people in Shiwang’andu today, clearly shows that PF has no vision other than that of hacking citizens who are poverty stricken. Lastly, we call for peace, unity in our country as we carry out our campaigns, before, during and after elections.”
Mr Hichilema singled out former Shiwang’andu PF Member of Parliament Steven Kampyongo and the District Commissioner of having sponsored the latest attacks.
He vowed that the UPND will deal with the duo if it wins the August elections.
When reached for a comment, PF Secretary General Davies Chama dismissed the reports saying the attacks could be part of the UPND’s strategy to win public sympathy.
“They are always fabricating stories to win public sympathy. Remember, they were saying the President is sick but the President is well, that is how they are so these reports should not be taken seriously because it could be part of their scheme to win public sympathy,” Mr Chama said.