Activist Chilufya Tayali was yesterday severely assaulted by UPND cadres who fished him out of a Press briefing held by party President Hakainde Hichilema at Cresta Golfview Hotel.
But UPND spokesman Charles Kakoma has denied that Mr. Tayali was beaten “I am aware that ZNBC crew had difficulty entering the hall and may have been harassed but the conference went smoothly without any incidence.” Mr Kakoma said.
But Mr Tayali insisted “I was fished out of the press briefing as Mr. Hichilema was speaking and was dragged out of the room in full view of everyone. I was dragged through the Hotel corridor as I was being beaten. Sensing danger I ran and locked myself in a nearby room, but hotel staff were made to take me out at which point they continued to beat me.” he said.
“They accused me of being hostile to HH. They assaulted severely and was only saved by some sympathizers. We called the Police who arrived at the Hotel but to my surprise they suggested that I had gone to the conference with a number of people to interrupt the briefing. I explained that I was alone and did not create any type of disturbance.” he said.
“I went to the Levy Hospital for treatment and to obtain a medical report, but even here I was met with some hostility which I still do not understand. I received the same hostility and indifference when I went to ZNBC to explain what had happened to me” He said. “I am really traumatized by this incident which I never thought would happen. I am particularly concerned by the attitude I received at the Police, Hospital and ZNBC. It is as if I was in enemy territory.” He explained.
Addressing the press, Mr. Hichilema insisted that the UPND vote had been stolen and that the party had the names of all Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officials who allegedly conspired with the ruling Patriotic Front to steal his votes in the just ended presidential election.
He maintained that his loss in the presidential election was a clear manipulation of the process from all stages of the electoral exercise but that in spite of what had happened he had great respect for ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima. Hichilema said he held Justice Mambilima in high respect because when his party complained she obliged and allowed a verification of the vote which had been denied before.
He however maintained that the entire electoral process including the manner in which results were announced should be overhauled because there was room for manipulation.