UPND impounds ECZ trucks

ACTING on a tip-off from Zambia Revenue Authority officers at Chirudu border post, UPND cadres yesterday impounded two South African trucks which they claimed were carrying pre-marked ballot papers in favour of the Patriotic Front (PF) president Edgar Lungu.

The ZRA officials informed the cadres the trucks were not scanned as they crossed into the country raising suspicion of content.

The cadres mobilised themselves and travelled to Chirudu Post where they trailed the trucks all the way to Lusaka, until they reached Makeni police post at which theywere intercepted and stopped the drivers interrogated.

Makeni police officers did not entertain the cadres and referred them to Lusaka Central Division where they demanded that the lorries should be offloaded to verify what they were carrying.

But the drivers refused to offload the trucks and told the cadres that if the trucks were to be offloaded it should be in the presence of Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officials because it was their consignment.

The cadres defied the advice by the truck drivers and started tying tents covering the carton boxes. It took the police to stop the cadres from offloading the consignment.

Thereafter, senior UPND officials who included prominent Lusaka lawyer Martha Mushipe engaged the police on the way forward and they insisted that the trucks would only be offloaded at ECZ premises.

Ms Mushipe was heard speaking to other people on the phone that if they saw what was at the Lusaka Central Police they would cry.

At that point, the cadres threatened to set the trucks ablaze if they were not offloaded while others were heard saying they would spend sleepless nights at Central Police to guards the lorries. After further lengthy negotiations with the police, UPND officials agreed that the trucks should be taken to ECZ premises and be opened in the presence of the party officials and media to clear the suspicion.

Just after 14:00 hours the trucks were released and escorted to ECZ offices with heavy armed police officers and arrived at the commission at around 14:35 hours.

On being opened the trucks were found to be carrying folding tables, folding chairs 108, 540 and 210, 000 batteries for lamps.

After they were opened some cadres were heard saying there was nothing wrong with their action to demand offloading of trucks because they had a right to be suspicious about materials ECZ were bringing into the country.

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