United Party for National Development Secretary General Stephen Katuka says the UPND is a sober, civilised and disciplined political party but with a capacity to defend itself when provoked.
Speaking in the aftermath of the violence that rocked the Mkomba ward and Sesheke constituency elections in which a horde of PF cadres led by known elements attacked the UPND campaign posts yesterday, Mr.Katuka said the party has the capacity to defend itself against the PF which is hiding behind the strength of some bad elements in the Zambia police service.
He said it is shame that the Electoral Commission of Zambia has failed to play its constitutional role as an election referee but is instead being seen to side with the ruling party thus creating a source of conflict and mistrust among political players.
“We do not believe in violence like the PF.But this manner of uncivilised behavior by the PF leaves us with no choice but to demand that our members defend themselves against PF and ‘police’ aggression on them because we are equal to the task.What defensive mechanisms the members will employ is dependant on themselves.This is not right and the ECZ is watching instead of playing its role as an election referee.This we shall not tolerate, ” he said.
” We had a meeting with the ECZ on 7th January 2019 with President Hichilema and other senior party officials at which we told the commission that it is failing to manage elections in the country.Yesterday’s violent attacks in Lundazi and Sesheke have vindicated us.It is the role of the ECZ to manage the elections by detailing the police and telling them what is expected of them.Teargas is unnecessarily unnecessary in an election.
Mr. Katuka says elections should not be a source of conflicts but a joy for choosing representatives, “he added.
He further said the PF were the major beneficiaries of a defective Public order Act and misrule hence its snubbing of the church led national dialogue process which would iron out the defects, adding that the PF was facing an imminent election defeat thus resorting to violence, intimidation and other acts of terror.
Mr. Katuka also adviced the Inspector General of Police, Kakoma Kanganja to tame his officer’s insatiable appetite for teargas describing the conduct as primitive and aimed at intimidating voters and campaigners.
“We have since written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia and attached video evidence of the PF violence in Lundazi.We have since demanded that the commission disciplines the PF as the sponsor of violence and show cause why its candidate should not be disqualified in line with the Electoral Act.Any failure by the commission to take remedial steps against the PF will leave us with no choice but believe that they are in collusion with the PF, ” the Secretary General said.
8 UPND members were yesterday left with minor injuries after their camp was invaded by known PF members led by area independent lawmaker Lawrence Nyirenda and District PF IPS Portipher Mbewe.
The attack was however repelled by an irate mob of villagers who outnumbered the assailants while police fired teargas canisters in Sesheke in a show of defiance by residents which lasted more than 2 hours.