The UPND has distanced itself from the violence in Mangango but have advised Police to arrest the PF cadre nursing injuries from beatings by the local people.
UPND vice president Richard Kapita has said that the injured PF cadre should be arrested and charged with espionage because the burning of the bridge was criminal and barbaric.
“The gutting of the bridge by PF cadres to make it difficult for our party president Hakainde Hichilema to cross the river and campaign must not only be viewed as political violence but criminal and barbaric.
“We demand that Police arrest him for espionage and also interview him on the purpose of his coming all the way from Lusaka to Mangango just to come and burn the bridge and intimidate voters,” he said.
He said the UPND was not involved in the violence which erupted and left one Patriotic Front (PF) cadre seriously injured.
Mr Kapita said the violence erupted after the people of Mangango and Luampa were agitated following the destruction of the bridge by PF cadres. He said no UPND members participated in the beating of Leonard Chisanga who was transported from Lusaka to Mangango. “We in the UPND wish to condemn in the strongest terms the violence that was orchestrated by the PF cadres mostly imported from Lusaka. We also wish to distance our party youths from the violence that left one PF cadre of Lusaka’s Kuomboka compound seriously wounded. “The dear people of Mangango and Luampa were provoked by the PF’s wanton destruction of the bridge and may have been forced to take the law in their own hands,” he said.
Mr Kapita said it has been well-established that PF was only interested in winning elections at the cost of infrastructure development. He said the people of Mangango mainly depend on agriculture and timber trade and they need the vital bridge to transport their produce.
“It further explains why the local people decided to beat him because they realised that his action was sabotage and the absence of the bridge would not affect him,” Mr Kapita said
He said the gutting of the bridge by PF cadres was meant to make it difficult for UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to campaign.
Mr Kapita said UPND cadres were being attacked in almost every by-election and that on the Copperbelt party ward official were beaten and stripped naked by the PF cadres.
He said UPND remained committed to peaceful campaigns everywhere and thanked the general citizenry for showing confidence in the opposition party.
“We should collectively kick out the PF and liberate our dear mother Zambia,” Mr Kapita said.
He cautioned PF and other parties to desist from importing cadres from other areas to campaign in by-elections.