President Edgar Lungu has ordered the police to arrest UPND Vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba and FDD president Edith Nawakwi and possibly Sylvia Masebo.
Speaking through his spokesperson Amos Chanda, Lungu accused the three of plotting to plunge the country into violence ahead of the 2016 elections.
Lungu claimed that the opposition are ‘plotting violence starting with these by-elections taking place in Bangweulu and in ward elections in Kasama and Isoka and generally a campaign to try to disrupt law and order beginning now leading to 2016.’
Talking about Choongwe MP Sylvia Masebo, Lungu claimed that some opposition leaders have been having illegal meetings in certain parts of the country.
‘In addition to that, the President has been briefed about illegal meetings that have been taking place in certain parts of the country. “Of specific mention, a certain place in Ibex Hill has been used as a meeting place for some opposition activists who have expressly stated that the option of violence in the 2016 elections is still very much on the table. “All these things taken together, paint a picture that some mischief by known opposition leaders is taking place.
Chanda said his president has been examining security reports about the activities of the opposition regarding an orchestrated attempt to create a situation of lawlessness in the country with specific reference to Bangweulu.
‘The President regrets that opposition leader Edith Nawakwi attempted to frame sentiments among the voters by encouraging them to seize government property and vehicle which she carelessly alleged would be carrying state agents who would riff the elections.
‘ As a result of that irresponsible statement and campaign she carried on Wednesday, unruly people today today stopped a vehicle carrying ECZ materials and this resulted into the delay of the voting process in Bangweulu by 30 to 40 minutes.
‘Those irresponsible statements are fitting into the plot that the President has been examining over the past one month where the opposition is attempting to foment violence.’
Chanda said ‘in Kasama, former MP, GBM has been sponsoring violence and security services have been following and seeing all these plots and yesterday PF supporters seven of them were assaulted on instructions of Mr GBM.’
“If police find credible evidence which can stand before the court of law, she will be arrested. If police also find credible evidence that will point to the attack on PF cadres yesterday [Wednesday], that they were sponsored by GBM, he will also be arrested. The President wants to make it clear that there is no opposition leader who is bigger than the country. So those opposition leaders who have ballooned egos must know that they President is well resolved to ensure that anyone who breaks the law, the cover of being an opposition leader will not protect them from prosecution. So if any evidence, credible is found, that arrest will take place and that is not to say there is no evidence.
Chanda further said that ‘in Isoka , Robert Chikwelete a member of the Rainbow party organised violence to stone honourable Malozo Sichone’s vehicle and also sponsored sporadic acts of violence which security services were able to stop before they could materialize.
Chanda said that ‘as of now, the security report points clearly to her [Nawakwi] statement as being responsible for that action that occurred to them [ECZ] officials
‘Should evidence be found, she will be arrested because there is this picture that is being painted that as long as you form a one man or one woman political party and you have a title of opposition leader, and then you are immune from prosecution. It’s only the President who is immune from prosecution; opposition leaders are not immune to prosecution. So if any opposition leader regardless of whom they are, they will be arrested,’ he said.
Lungu also claimed through Chanda that ‘that criminals are being dressed in PF regalia and very early in the morning almost of a daily basis are being deployed in Soweto Market, the biggest market and they attack the poor and ordinary marketers who are bringing merchandise to sale. When those people are attacked by criminals dressed in PF regalia, the picture painted is like the PF is a violent party that is attacking innocent people and when all these things are being taken into consideration, the President has given very strict instructions to the police to arrest any perpetrators of violence.
“So I wish to announce that the police command is under very strict instructions to take very stern action against these organised cases of violence.
Lungu has also warned the police saying he would not tolerate them if they do not arrest his adversaries.
‘The police are being warned as well that in most instances, opposition are allowed to commit crimes and the police is escorting them. So the President is sending a very serious warning to the police that he is not going to tolerate any inept conduct, inefficiency and behaviour by the police that seems to encourage lawlessness. So the warning is both to the police and to the opposition elements,’ said Chanda on behalf of Lungu.