Large numbers of PF police and PF cadres this morning sealed the planned venue for the opposition UPND in Chawama as early as 05:00 hours.
The police were able to find man-power despite earlier claiming that they would not have sufficient man-power for the rally.
The cancellation of the UPND rally comes barely a few days after Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba cheated the American government that the dictatorial PF regime was not stopping anyone from holding meetings.
UPND wanted to hold the rally in order to explain to the people the consequences of the removal of various subsidies that have pushed the prices of essential commodities high.
Ailing dictator president Michael Sata himself addressed a rally of his ministers at State House but does not want other people such as opposition parties and civil society organisation to also go and explain the measure to the people.
And UPND Spokesman Charles Kakoma confirmed that the rally would not go ahead.
“We were surprised that the Police who earlier said they had insufficient man power to police our rally this morning around 06 Hours sent over 500 police officers in riot gear to stop people from gathering,” Mr. Kakoma said.
He said, “we also received intelligence information that the PF youths had been mobilized and stationed near the venue to cause harm to innocent people who wanted to attend.”
“After all considerations had been made, we decided to call off the rally in order to safeguard peace.”
“They wanted to provoke us so that they see bloodshed and we don’t want to be associated with bloodshed.”
Mr. Kakoma condemned the actions of the police to block the UPND from going ahead with the Chawama rally.
“We are celebrating Africa Freedom Day and yet within this continent, there are people being denied their constitutional rights and freedoms,” Mr. Kakoma said.
Meanwhile, Lusaka Police Chief Joyce Kasosa confirmed sending the police to Chawama Basic School Grounds.
“We had informed them not to go ahead with the rally due to security concerns and advised them to come back to us for dialogue but they insisted on going ahead with the rally,” Mrs. Kasosa said.
“For us, security is paramount and the current security situation cannot warrant a public rally especially in areas such as Chawama.”
The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) has postponed to an unknown date its public rally which was scheduled to take place in Lusaka’s Chawama township today.
UPND Deputy Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said the decision was arrived at following the party’s consultations with civil society, the church and students unions after police refused to grant them permission to hold the public meeting.
In an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today, Mr. Mweetwa said the party will in due course announce a later date on which the rally would be held.
He has since called on UPND party members, sympathisers, students and the nation at large to remain calm as the party was still holding consultations with the relevant stakeholders.
Mr Mweetwa further appealed to the police not to bow to political pressure but to uphold human rights and remain focused in their execution of duty.
Mr. Mweetwa who is also UPND Choma Central Member Of Parliament alleged that Police in Lusaka had deployed officers around strategic points to prevent people from entering Chawama township.
Police in Lusaka yesterday threatened to take action if the UPND went ahead with its planned public rally which was to be held in Chawama today.
Last week the UPND indicated that it would hold a public rally addressed by party president Hakainde Hichilema, and representatives from civil society organisations, trade unions, market associations and students unions.