UPND candidate in the Lubansenshi parliamentary by-elections Patrick Mucheleka says he is under political persecution being masterminded by President Edgar Lungu and his cohorts.
Dismissing reports that he sponsored cadres last Saturday to ‘attack’ Luwingu district commissioner Patrick Chanda, who was allegedly found campaigning for the ruling PF, Mucheleka, who is also immediate past area independent member of parliament, said he was being trailed by police officers, working as PF agents. He also said the PF had a terrible candidate in George Mwamba, who could not win in the area. “I’m saying I’m under political persecution masterminded by [President] Lungu himself and his cohorts. He is using state institutions such as the police and the Office of the President because they are feeling the heat or the pressure. They have realised that they have a terrible candidate who can never win an election and that’s the same guy I defeated when he stood on the MMD ticket in 2011,” said Mucheleka, who by Monday evening was in hiding as he believed police wanted to arrest and deny him police bond.
“The PF is extremely worried and that’s why they want to bring up these trumped up charges against me. They thought it would be easy for them because they are PF but I didn’t win by fluke in 2011.” Mucheleka also said the people of Lubansenshi were clever and rational, adding that they knew what the PF was trying to do against him. He further accused police of bias in settling political differences. “You know as much as I do that the police are biased and they are trying to use them to say I’m running away. I cannot run away and for how long can I run away? I’m just waiting for my lawyer to arrive from Lusaka because I have information that police are working under instructions from the whole system called state machinery; from Edgar Lungu himself and everyone,” Mucheleka said from an unknown place. Asked whether it was him who sponsored Chanda’s attackers, Mucheleka responded: “Of course, not! can I think so low? I want you to confirm this with the police officer-in-charge at Luwingu police, a Mr Banda; very early in the morning on Saturday, I phoned him from where I was, Luena mission. I received information that the DC was going round… they have been trailing me wanting to know where I’m going to have meetings but they are not doing that with other candidates.” He lamented that the PF had resorted to infringing the electoral Code of Conduct because of their desperation to win the September 24 by-elections. “I told the police officer-in-charge to say ‘look, what the DC is doing is against the electoral Code of Conduct but those people never did anything. I also called the district intelligence officer on Saturday to complain that I didn’t feel comfortable being trailed by used police officers. I understand the desperation by the PF and they will do everything to frame me,” Mucheleka explained. According to sources within Luwingu, police on Saturday evening had to fire tear gas to disperse suspected UPND supporters who attacked Chanda, allegedly on a campaign trail in the constituency. Chanda was, however, unavailable for a comment by press time.