UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday escaped lynching while Mazabuka Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Garry Nkombo was beaten after the two allegedly provoked some MMD supporters during the filing of nominations for the October 30 parliamentary by-election.
The UPND candidate Cosmas Moono’s turn to file nominations was around 09:00 hours and he did so successfully but the UPND returned to the nomination centre at Mundawanga Botanical Gardens at about 15:00 hours, which was the time allocated to the MMD, and violence flared leaving several people injured.
Mr Hichilema arrived around 15:00 hours while the MMD was filing nominations and confronted cadres demanding to know why his provincial chairperson Moono Mapane was assaulted by unknown people.
That infuriated the cadres who retaliated by asking the UPND leader to leave peacefully, but he did not do so.
Cadres in turn reacted by going for Mr Hichilema and his team but only succeeded in holding Mr Nkombo by his neck tie and slapped him in the chest.
The MP hurled unprintables at the cadres as he retreated to safety with the help of the police.
Mr Hichilema and his team swiftly gained entry into a Grade 8 classroom where he was held for 45 minutes as cadres demanded to know why he was provoking them but police shielded him.
Unknown people threw stones and other weapons on the roof top of the classroom where Mr Hichilema was held and shattered it partially but police immediately unleashed teargas canisters to disperse the crowd but only for a short while as the cadres trooped back to ensure that Mr Hichilema left insisting it was their turn.
Some pupils ran to safety while several people were injured during the fracas. Police deployed more re-enforcement from the paramilitary unit and surrounded the school and strategic places.
Traffic on the Lusaka-Livingstone Road used alternative routes while pupils sneaked out of school using other exits.
When relative calm was restored around 17:00 hours, returning officer Alfred Chikoma declared that MMD candidate Keith Mukata, Cosmas Moono (UPND), Henry Silumesi (UNIP) and the only female candidate, Valerie Makelani of the National Restoration Party (NAREP) successfully filed their nominations and urged them to report to the Kafue civic centre today at 09 hours.
The Chilanga seat fell vacant following the expulsion of former minister of Finance Ng;andu Magande from the MMD and elections take place on October 30, 2010 on the same day the Mpulungu parliamentary by-election will be held.
Lusaka Province MMD chairperson William Banda condemned Mr Hichilema for deliberately sparking violence at a time that was allocated to the ruling party.
He said Mr Hichilema wants to win sympathy by wanting to be beaten but said his strategy was dangerous.
MMD cadres also produced an axe which they claimed was to be used by UPND cadres to hurt supporters from the ruling party.
Mr Hichilema said he came to check on the results of the nominations but Mr Banda said that was a lie because those were scheduled to be announced at 17:00 hours and that individual candidates were informed soon after the applications were filed.
Times of Zambia