HAKAINDE Hichilema has instructed UPND members to restrain themselves from retaliating to the attacks being perpetrated by suspected Patriotic Front (PF) to avoid ‘‘plunging the country into chaos and making it ungovernable,” Douglas Siakalima has said.
But Mr Siakalima, who is special advisor to Mr Hichilema has warned that there was a limit to which the UPND members were going to tolerate the violence which had caused a lot of tension among citizens just days before the presidential election.
He said the UPND was increasingly being provoked but that Mr Hichilema had continued calling for calm because he did not wish to see the country degenerate into chaos and become ungovernable.
Mr Siakalima appealed to Acting President Guy Scott and Patriotic Front (PF) president Edgar Lungu to denounce the acts of violence before the country was thrown into chaos.
He said although the UPND had the capacity to retaliate and defend itself the members had been restrained by Mr Hichilema who he said was propagating peaceful campaigns devoid of malice, hate and slander.
“The PF has no capacity to stop us from retaliating and defending ourselves from the violence they are perpetrating. Let us create peace for this country.
‘‘We have been restrained from retaliating and defending ourselves not because we are weak but because Mr Hichilema has sent word across the country to all members to avoid violence because he does not want to spill blood. The violence we saw in Mongu should be the last because we have been victims for far too long,” Mr Siakalima said
Mr Siakalima was addressing the media at the UPND secretariat yesterday.
Mr Siakalima said the violence that occurred in Mongu on Wednesday where a UPND official was hit with a wooden plank should be condemned by political leaders, the church and civil society because if tolerated, violence could flare up on voting day.
“The violence we have seen in the last few days where the PF cadres have been attacking the UPND members and campaign teams are being instigated by senior PF leaders.
It is beyond any spectre of doubt that the violence in Shiwang’andu and Mongu is being sponsored by the ruling party.
The PF knows they have lost the election and the only thing they have is violent conduct and we fear this may continue up to the election day,” Mr Siakalima said.
He said winning a presidential election must never be a matter of life and death, adding that there was a possibility that the 50 years of peace could be lost within hours on voting day.
“Within the twinkling of an eye, the 50 years of peace and unity could be lost because of this election.
It should not be a matter of life and death for any party to retain the presidency because beyond politics, we have families. Violence does not respect status or gender and we may all get caught up in it…of course leaders may run away but they have relatives who may become victims. Let us avoid violence and preach peace,”Mr Siakalima said,
Meanwhile, UPND deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekel claimed that the opposition party had been informed that the ruling party was allegedly buying voters’ cards in Mtendere and Kalingalinga townships in Lusaka.