The opposition UPND will this Sunday not adhere to Dictator Michael Sata’s medication prescription of banning political rallies as a way of reducing pressure on him and have since vowed to go ahead and address their members through a rally in Lusaka’s Kabwata area.
The party recently notified the police of their intention to hold a political rally in Kabwata this Sunday as per requirement of the archaic Public Order Act, but Mr. Sata through his police has again given another excuse of the fracas that happened at Woodlands Police Station as reason for not allowing them to hold the meeting.
Recently the Watchdog sources revealed that banning of opposition political rallies and suppression of opposing views is one of the recommendations by Sata’s medical team in order to reduce pressure on him because he is too sensitive to criticism.
Since coming to power, PF has suppressed opposition political parties by denying them permits to hold both in and out door meetings to meet and organize their members using lame excuses such as not having enough man-power to police events.
So far leading opposition leaders MMD’s Nevers Mumba and UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema are appearing in courts after being arrested for various offences such as defamation of the president and conduct likely to cause breach of peace after they visited markets to meet their members and familiarize themselves with prices of essential commodities in trading places.
And police sources have told the Watchdog that the fracas that happened at Woodlands police station was a deliberate ploy by the ruling party to use it as excuse to permanently attempt to cure president Sata by denying opposition parties permits to hold rallies citing violence.
Sources said the PF cadre who was hit with a pan-brick by a police officer was a pre-arranged ploy to label opposition parties as violent organisations that cannot be allowed to hold public rallies.
But the UPND have now insisted that they will go ahead with the planned Kabwata rally this Sunday because the are not breaking any law and they are constitutionally guaranteed freedom of assembly and association.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says it is wrong for the police to continue denying his party to hold public rallies in the country. He said this is the 11th application that the police has denied UPND permit to hold a public meeting.
“We have the right which right we do not request from the PF. These rights are given to us by birth. By us being human beings, we are entitled to these rights,” Hichilema said.
And UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said despite advice from Ministry of Home Affairs to abide by police counsel, his party is determined to go ahead with its planned rally in Kabwata on Sunday.
He said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that UPND will not abide by the police advice not to go ahead with its rally but will abide by the law.
Mr Mweetwa, who is UPND Choma Central member of Parliament (MP), said his party is a law-abiding organisation and has always respected the law.
He said the leadership of UPND is not ready to negotiate with police on the enjoyment of their fundamental rights and freedoms.
This week, Mr Mweetwa has been issuing statements insisting that the opposition UPND will go ahead with its political rally in Kabwata with or without police permit.
Recently, police denied UPND permission to hold a rally in Kabwata on grounds that the police were not certain that the opposition political party can hold a peaceful rally.
Meanwhile, former works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti said the latest refusal by police to allow the UPND to hold their rally was creating frustration and anger among people as the police are merely putting pressure in the bottle.
Featuring on UNZA radio, Mulongoti said people must be allowed to continue conversation with their leaders including the ruling party as that was good for democracy.