Police in riot gear on Sunday patrolled the streets of Chawama Township in Lusaka in an effort to block opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema who was due to visit the area.
Mr Hichilema had announced that he was going to visit Chawama on Sunday to donate Genset at Chawama Clinic to mitigate the long hours of load shedding.
He was also scheduled to visit Misisi and Kuku compounds and later conclude his tour by interacting with locals in Jack Compound where loading shedding is reported to be at 12 hours per day.
But Sunday morning saw the heavy presence of police from Lime road to John Howard compound.
Some officers spoken to said they were merely carrying out their orders to block Mr. Hichilema and kick him out of Chawama.
And Mr. Hichilema says he sympathizes with the police officers.
“We understand there was a heavy police presence in the streets of Chawama constituency today. All this we are informed was in an effort to stop us from doing some charity work and blocking us from a planned tour of Chawama,” Mr. Hichilema wrote on Facebook.
He said the heavy presence of police officers in Chawama yesterday should be a daily routine to protect our citizens, as opposed to blocking one individual whose right of movement is guaranteed by the constitution.
“We fully sympathize with police officers for being abused in such a manner. When citizens notify the police to conduct a peaceful protest, hold a rally or any public event, the usual response is that there is not enough manpower. But here we are with the heavy police presence in the streets of Chawama mobilized at short notice for only one individual,” he said.
“As UPND when we take over the reins of power in 2021 from day one, we shall undertake to restore the rule of law and ensure all citizens regardless of political affiliation, enjoy all fundamental freedoms and basic rights as enshrined in our constitution. To the police, please remain there and other places to protect property and life in Chawama.”