06TH JUNE, 2021 -The Inspector General of police, Mr Kakoma Kanganja is displeased with the conduct of the UPND on the Copper belt and has called on the police officers to continue being firm on the ground and ensure that law and order is maintained.
The Inspector General has further warned political parties taking part in the election that at no point will the police allow them to orchestrate or perpetuate their ill intentions aimed at disturbing public order.
He has further dispelled irresponsible statements circulating on social media that the police attempted to shoot at the UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema whilst on the copper belt such are efforts trying to hoodwink the public for political reasons. He has advised all those worth their salt to stand on the truth as the general public expect to hear the truth from them and not the propaganda being perpetrated on social media.
At no point did the police fire live ammunition to disperse crowds during the time when the UPND leader was conducting the illegal activities as all the officers were only armed with tear smoke canisters.
Political parties have always been advised to notify the police on their intended activities as per law requirement but some political parties have dared that they would go ahead even without notifying the police. Such conduct is uncalled for and shall not be entertained.
Coming to what transpired on the Copperbelt, the UPND did not notified the police of their activities in Ndola, however police learnt that the UPND leader who is in the Province was going to attend a church service in Mushili on Saturday and whilst at Church, bus loads were seen offloading cadres which resulted in a crowd forming and they later had a roadshow forcing their way into markets where they had illegal rallies.
Considering the area being a compound, Police were patient enough and allowed them to conclude their activities at about 18 00 hours after which police sealed the route passing through town forcing them to use alternative routes.
Later in the day, Police received reports that cadres who were among the illegal crowd attacked any person that was seen wearing other political party’s regalia. Such reports include:
1. A report of unlawful wounding in which a victim was injured using a screw driver and is admitted to hospital,
2. A report of assault OABH where a victim was hacked in the head. A machete is suspected to have been used in the act and
3. A report of assault OABH in which a victim was hit with an iron bar and sustained a fractured collarbone.
At the time when the opposition leader was proceeding to Kitwe in a convoy of more than 100 motor vehicles, Police attempted to stop some motor vehicles for purposes of conducting security checks but they budged through a roadblock and stoned some traffic police officers using catapults. This resulted in Police discharging tear smoke at the unruly cadres and dispersed them.
This morning, the said opposition leader attempted to go to a local Catholic Church in Chingola District and police only allowed 10 motor vehicles to proceed. However, more motor vehicles joined leading in an unlawful procession. Police officers discharged tear smoke to disperse the crowd and at no point was live ammunition used as being insinuated in some statements circulating. Officers were only armed with riot guns and professionally dealt with the situation.
As opposed to allegations that police are stopping the opposition party from campaigning, on Friday the same UPND political party campaigned in Ndola from 13 00 hours to 19 00 hours and Police Officers were patient enough to allow them conclude their activity. All what the police are calling for is for political parties to conduct their activities within the confines of the law.
Following disturbing reports that political cadres are carrying stones on their motor vehicles and catapults among other offensive weapons, the Inspector General has directed that all Police Officers should intensify snap checks on all motor vehicles and sternly deal with anyone who will be found carrying offensive weapons. It has become evident from the reports received so far that some cadres have resorted to using catapults with the aim of causing harm on other persons, the conduct which the police shall not allow.
Any conduct that is antagonistic in nature shall be received with an equal repelling force from the police and no one should label the police of using force. All political parties have been advised to conduct themselves peacefully and responsibly. Any conduct to the contrary will be dealt with accordingly.
ESTHER MWAATA KATONGO
ZAMBIA POLICE SPOKESPERSON