POLICE are denying us authority to hold nationwide rallies to thank people who voted for the United Party for National Development (UPND) in last January’s Presidential election, says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
But Police spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda said UPND were being denied authority to hold rallies because they have not followed procedure.
“They are supposed to write by notifying provincial police commissioners who would allow them to go ahead with the rally or not. Provinces have different operating systems. That is why they are supposed to seek authority from provincial commissioners,” she said.
Ms Munganga Chanda said UPND should not generalise that police have denied them authority when the party might not have followed procedure.
She challenged the opposition party to state which office they had written to which denied them authority to hold rallies. UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said on monday police have denied his party authority to go around the country and thank Zambians who voted for him.
Mr Hichilema said his party had been denied its democratic right of associating and expressing themselves to Zambians.
“We have been seeking authority after the January 20 presidential elections to go and thank the people who voted for us but the police have denied us,” he said.
But Lusaka Police Commissioner Charity Atanga has denied having refused to grant UPND in Lusaka authority to hold a rally.
“Police granted UPND authority to hold a rally in Mtendere but they cancelled it themselves and informed us that they would not go ahead because they had other programmes,” he said.
Ms Atanga said UPND should not politicize such matters because police granted them authority in Lusaka to hold a rally but they cancelled it on their own, adding that she would not comment on other provinces as they were outside her jurisdiction.
“UPND should not be peddling lies by way of seeking political mileage that they have been denied authority to assemble. In Lusaka, we allowed them but they cancelled it on their own,” she said.