Police in Lusaka on Friday killed one UPND female supporter after they ambushed a group of supporters that were marching on the Central Business District after Police cancelled a planned rally in Chawama.
Mapenzi Chibulu was pronounced dead on arrival at UTH and another male UPND cadre is seriously injured and admitted to UTH.
In a facebook statement UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said Police fired live bullets at UPND supporters in Lusaka yesterday afternoon, injuring and fatally wounding UPND supporters in a tragic incident that will remain a scar on the conscience of our nation for years to come.
That they have been shot for their political opinions reveals the uncomfortable truth we face today that Zambia is no longer a functioning democracy and if we are not careful it will no longer be a functioning state at all.
Our prayers and condolences are with those injured and the families and friends of those who lost their life. We must demand justice. If we do not speak out and if we let ourselves be intimidated further then more of our people will soon suffer the same terrible fate.
We continue to call for peace. Let me be clear, we are fighting for justice through peaceful means not because we lack strength but because we do not want more of our people to suffer at the hands of police officers or PF cadres. If we react in kind then the consequences for our nation would be disastrous.
As we highlighted in our live TV interview yesterday evening, we have written several letters to President Lungu on this subject and have called for meetings with him to resolve these issues. To date we have never had even an acknowledgement, let alone a response, to our calls. We continue to call for a meeting along with other stakeholders.
We met with the Inspector General of the Police yesterday afternoon. We demanded to know why the rally was cancelled so late and on questionable grounds, as if it was a deliberate move to provoke and confuse our supporters. We have also demanded to know why live bullets were being used for crowd control. We are speaking with international media, observers, civil society and many other stakeholders. We will continue to update you.
The sad reality we face is that we have a generation of young people that are hungry, have no jobs and have lost all faith in the state and state institutions. They feel betrayed by the broken promises of the PF Government. The police, rather than protecting them, has become an instrument of attack and intimidation, with no right for self-defence.
We call on President Lungu to quickly condemn the shootings and apologise directly to the families for something that would never have happened under truly democratic and compassionate leadership.
Meanwhile President Edgar Lungu has said his heart is heavy following the loss of life in yesterday’s fracas between the police and the UPND cadres in Lusaka.
“I first and foremost want to express my deepest sorrow to the family and friends of those who lost a life and were injured in the violence today. 50 years ago we fought hard to bring independence, peace and democracy to our nation. For 50 years our nation has lived with peace, stability and freedom. There is no place for this type of violence in our society. I take a firm stance against any sort of violence in our democracy,” President Lungu said in a message posted on his Facebook page.
“Zambians know the kind of leader that I am, and that I am a man of faith that walks with God. I live my life and lead this country with Christian values. In a Christian nation our brother and sisters can never turn to this sort of violence. We cannot let ourselves be led into a crisis by those who wish to instill fear into the hearts of many in hopes of gaining power and control.”
He added, “We are a blessed nation and cannot afford to lose order and take steps back in the progress we have made. I feel for mother Zambia. I pray for peace for all my people, across all provinces. The people of Zambia shall know peace and this shall not escalate further. We will not be led by fear. I call for unity, and end to the violence.”
President Lungu said Police will take stern action against anyone perpetrating to this violence adding that he has faith that the lines of inquiry police have opened will lead to arrest of the culprits.