The opposition UPND has confirmed that one of its youth cadres has been shot dead in Kaoma in politically motivated shooting ahead of the by-election.
Both UPND Chairperson for Mobilisation and Strategy Sylvia Masebo and Party Spokesman Charles Kakoma confirmed the death of Lawrence Banda, popularly known as “Gaddafi” who was shot dead on Sunday.
“It is with a heavy and broken heart that I receive the news of the demise of a vibrant and committed youth member in the UPND, Lawrence Banda, popularly known by his mates as “Gaddafi”. Lawrence was allegedly shot twice in the head by a known PF cadre after they [PF cadres] attacked the UPND camp in the ongoing Kaoma district council by-elections,” Ms. Masebo said.
“I have personally known and worked with this young man and this sad news is really crushing. My heart bleeds at what our Zambian politics have now become under the PF and President Lungu’s administration,” she said.
Ms. Masebo said political violence has taken root and is currently at an advanced stage where guns are now being used indiscriminately.
She said the police, unfortunately, seem helpless especially after the recent Sesheke by-elections, where senior police officers were fired for acting professionally.
“The effect of that unfair act has now left the police scared to do their job professionally. And this has left the opposition party members very vulnerable to attacks by the cadres of the ruling elite who openly move around with guns .”
Ms. Masebo said the opposition members have no protection from the police, especially during these by-elections.
She charged that there can be no free elections under such a violent atmosphere where lives are being lost.
“My only wish right now is for the Police, under the leadership of Mr. Kanganja to stop downplaying these horrendous crimes being committed by the ruling party cadres. These are serious matters requiring the Police to quickly bring the culprits to book. Please for once let the law take its course. So many lives have been lost without culprits being punished and as a result, the situation is getting out of control. What will the 2021 elections look like?”
“My sincere condolences go to the Banda family for losing such a young member of their family. May you remain strong in the Lord. May the Holy Spirit comfort you.
And Mr. Kakoma confirmed that the UPND Members were shot by PF cadres in Kaoma in the head and was battling for his life in Kaoma General Hospital at the time the media statement was released.
“The UPND member was shot twice in the head after armed PF cadres invaded the UPND camp in Kaoma Central today. The PF cadres found some women at the UPND camp in Kaoma Site and Service preparing some meals and attacked them. One of the youths tried to save women from attackers. It was at this point that one-armed PF cadre shot him twice in the head. The bullets have not yet been removed by doctors at Kaoma General Hospital. Police have not arrested the PF cadre who shot the UPND member.”
“Meanwhile, as the news went around that there was fighting going on at the UPND camp, some more PF cadres mobilized themselves and on their way to the scene of the fighting, they met the UPND Kaoma youth chairman Chola Simwaba who was riding a motorbike, unaware of the fighting that had broken out. The PF thugs started stoning him. He fell to the ground and beat him up. In self-defense, he used his gun to shoot in the air to scare away his attackers. Police have now arrested the UPND member Chola Simwaba.”
Mr. Kakoma said, “As UPND, we would like to strongly appeal to the police to be fair and impartial in handling the situation in Kaoma and other places where by-elections are taking place. We would also like to warn the PF that starting political violence and blaming it on the UPND will not help them. They should stop it or regret it.
But Police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja denied that anyone died in Kaoma due to political violence.
Mr. Kanganja stated that four people were injured and were hospitalized at Kaoma General Hospital.
He also refuted claims that there was an exchange of gunfire between the Police and party cadres.
Mr. Kanganja said one person has since been arrested and a gun has been confiscated.
“Good afternoon colleagues. The Police never exchanged any gunfire with anyone. Four persons have been injured and hospitalized. One person has been arrested and one pistol recovered from him. No deaths have been recorded,” Mr. Kanganja said.