The UPND has revealed that heavily armed State police on Monday evening attempted to arrest its leader Hakainde Hichilema at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe in Ndola on the Copperbelt.
Mr Hichilema’s Deputy Press Secretary Brian Mwiinga revealed that Mr. Hichilema was about to take off to Lusaka but heavily armed State police surrounded and flooded the airport thereby causing commotion.
The UPND President was on the Copperbelt and held meetings with party officials.
Mr. Mwiinga said the Police under instructions also attempted to stop Mr. Hichilema from attending mass at St Joseph Cupertino Catholic Church on grounds that he did not have a permit to do so.
He said at the airport, it was not established as to why the Police attempted to arrest the UPND President and block him from using the Ndola airport.
But the Zambia Police Service says the Police on the Copperbelt did not at any point demand for a permit from Mr. Hichilema to attend Mass at St Joseph of Cupertino Catholic Church in Chifubu Township on Sunday.
“Members of the public may wish to know that whenever any Political leader or any individual with a following visits an area, it is the duty of the Police to monitor the security situation to ensure that law and order prevails. According to the program availed to the Police earlier, the UPND leader was scheduled to attend a church service at Christ the King Pentecostal church but on the material day, which is Sunday yesterday, Police received information that the UPND leader was to attend church at St Joseph’s Catholic Church,” says Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo.
“Upon receiving the information, some Police Officers went to St Joseph’s Catholic Church where they met the Parish Chairperson to verify on the information that Mr Hakainde Hichilema was to attend mass at the said church,” she said.
He added, “The reason for our officers to do so was not to ask for a permit from the UPND but for them to verify whether Mr Hichilema would be at the said Church to attend Mass, the information which was essential for the officers to monitor the security situation.”
“As the officers were inquiring from the Parish Chairperson, there were also some UPND cadres in the Parish Office who at some point interrupted the conversation and asked whether there was need for the permit when it was a church program. We further wish to state that the pictures circulating on social media showing Police officers with Mr Hichilema purportedly depicting what transpired at the church are a misrepresentation of facts as the officers who went to the church were plain clothed officers and not uniformed.”