Heavily armed police in riot gear yesterday arrested and detained NAREP president Elias Chipimo junior before charging him with unlawful assembly.
Mr. Chipimo, together with other party officials who included party vice-president Charles Maboshe were arrested and detained at Kitwe Central police yesterday, but were later released after a warn and caution statement was recorded from them on the charge of unlawful assembly.
Speaking after being released, Mr. Chipimo said the police had recorded a warn and caution statement after arresting him and other party members for unlawful assembly at Providence Guest House where they were set to start a workshop for party members.
Mr. Chipimo said he was shocked that while they were preparing for the workshop, they were told that police in riot gear were waiting for them outside the hall where the workshop was set to be held.
“We were about to start a party workshop at Providence Guest House, but were just told that police in riot gear were outside waiting to arrest us. It was quite shocking that we could be arrested for holding a party workshop. We were shocked because the workshop was an indoor thing and so we had not broken any law.
Mr. Chipimo observed that the PF government and its leadership were scared because of their failures to address high poverty levels, unemployment and unfulfilled promises.
He said that President Sata and his party were wasting time by arresting opposition political parties when the country was facing serious challenges.
“It is pointless for this government to spend huge resources to purchase riot gear for the police when the people of Zambia are facing a critical hunger situation. It is pointless for this government to waste resource sending vehicles to arrest Chipimo and his officials at a workshop aimed at empowering party officials,” said Mr. Chipimo.
The NAREP leader said that the PF government was a violent party that promoted anarchy in the nation by abusing the police service. Meanwhile Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolutions of Disputes (SACCORD) Information Officer Obby Chibuluma has demanded for immediate release of Mr. Chipimo and eight others without conditions. Mr. Chibuluma has urged the opposition to unite and stop the traits by the PF government of abusing the law and the people of Zambia.
“It is only important for the opposition to now realize the importance of unity of purpose. They need to be there for each other in order to stop the traits by the PF government. It is not good for other political parties to think that they are in good books with the PF because after they are done with them, they will be followed just like the way it has happened with NAREP. The opposition must learn to protect each other,” he said.
Mr. Chibuluma reminded the PF government that the people of Zambia would not continue or gain pride in inflicting pain on innocent people by arresting them in the manner they wanted.
He has since demanded for the immediate release of Mr. Chipimo and drop all the charges slapped on the opposition leader unconditionally.