Patriotic Front thugs yesterday attacked UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his entourage in Kasama as he attempted to visit Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba-speaking people at his Malole palace.
And ABZ leader Fr Frank Bwalya has condemned the violence calling it barbaric and unZambian.
Hichilema told the Daily Nation that the incident occurred at a police checkpoint on the districts periphery.
Narrating the ordeal, the opposition leader said he was shocked to see ruling Patriotic Front thugs armed with various weapons attack him as police watched without intervening. Several people in his entourage have been hurt.
Hichilema said the thugs demanded to know why he wanted to see the traditional leader.
Hichilema, who was in the company of other senior party officials said it was sad that police officers refused to stop the thugs.
“This happened in full view of police and we wonder why the Zambia Police has been turned into a PF police. They threw all sorts of weapons at us. They flogged us like we were still in the 16th century.
I was on a private trip to visit the Mwine Lubemba and these cadres attacked us while saying ‘why are you going to see our chief’. I have an appointment with the Chitimukulu. Our private movements are curtailed by the PF regime. This is what we call breaking the rule of law,” Hichilema said.
And the opposition leader has charged that President Michael Sata has lost control of the country as exhibited by the unruly PF cadres and that it was time for him to show leadership for the sake of peace.
He said the country’s rulership was worse than the colonial one, and that it was unacceptable that political leaders should find it hard to visit traditional leaders.
This, he said was a clear testimony that President Sata had failed to run the affairs of this country.
“This is true because he has even failed to control the infighting in PF and PF cadres are now following violent foot steps from its leadership. This country needs peace and I’m afraid that if this is not stopped, it will escalate to uncontrolled levels.
The police are afraid; as I’m talking to you right now I’m at the police station where we came to report the case and the PF thugs have pursued us even inside the police station. People have been hurt and police instead of arresting the attackers they are interrogating us,” he said.
The UPND leader said the President was sowing seeds of anarchy because he was promoting hate speech against the UPND leader.
He summoned the ruling PF regime to deeper reflection over its conduct.