“Use the force within your abilities to make sure that Hakainde, GBM and their UPND are ejected from Solwezi as quickly as possible,” President Edgar Lungu has directed police. Police immediately moved in with armoured cars and lining up the streets.
Earliar, HH issued the following Statement on violation of democratic rights in Solwezi West
11 September 2015
Many who have witnessed the harassment and intimidation of our colleagues in Lubansenshi over the last week will not be surprised to hear that we are now facing serious troubles in Solwezi West where our democratic right to campaign and our freedom of movement is being blatantly and unacceptably violated.
This is an affront to our democracy, the rights of our party and its supporters, as well as those who wish to hear our messages and vision before they cast their vote on 24 September.
After three days of very successful campaigns in the area the police yesterday discharged live gunshots at one of our meetings and interrupted the tour at several points.
This morning we have been informed by police officers that our scheduled meetings with Vice President Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) for today have all been cancelled and that we must leave Solwezi at all costs or we will be forcibly removed.
I have personally spoken to some of the officers who acknowledge that we have the right to peacefully continue with our campaigns as provided by the electoral code of conduct. Yet we also know that many officers, particularly from the Copperbelt, are being abused and facing harsh economic challenges, which the PF is taking full advantage of in deploying them against us.
The conclusions we can draw are firstly, that the PF is preventing a free and fair election in Solwezi West. It should not be forgotten campaign period is just as important as voting day in ensuring the vote is free and fair. Secondly, the PF is clearly scared of a UPND victory, or they would not be resorting to such means. Thirdly, the PF puts its own survival before that of our democracy.
At a time like this, one would think our energies would be towards salvaging the economic downturn, rather than threats and intimidation of political opponents.
Our people are losing jobs in the mining communities and other industries and so far, we have already received confirmed cases of people committing suicide on being served letters of redundancy.
Join us in speaking out against such abuse and in calling for Government to stop putting its energies into obstructing political opponents and to instead address current economic challenges.
Issued by: UPND National Campaign Centre, Lusaka
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