THE UPND and the Zambia Police have differed over terms of the Kabwata police station pact in which opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema supposedly undertook to notify police of his tours in markets.
The party has declared that there was no such agreement while the police have insisted that drastic measures will be taken if there will be a breach of the undertaking.
UPND special assistant to the president (special duties) Edward Mumbi says it was not correct for the police to insinuate that there was an undertaking to notify the police each time Mr Hichilema was touring or visiting places in the country.
But Lusaka Police Commissioner Charity Katanga has warned that the police command would wait for the UPND to undertake their political tours without notification because she did not want to engage in a political contest with the opposition political party as she was a civil servant and not a political cadre.
She said the UPND was a political party and she would therefore not engage with its leadership into a political contest.
Ms Katanga said the UPND did not enjoy any form of immunity and should therefore know that breaching the Public Order Act was an offence.
She said it was a waste of time responding to the decision by the UPND not to commit itself to an undertaking because she was not a political cadre but would rather wait until the opposition political party embarked on its political visits and tours in public places.
“The UPND is a political party and I am a civil servant and it would be a waste of time for me to respond to their decision because it would end up looking like I am in a political contest. They want to make political capital out of their action by creating an impression that they are being harassed by the police. Police is guided by the law and whatever they are going to do in future, they must know that they do not have the immunity. They know how I handle security matters and they should not underrate me,” Ms Katanga said.
Mr Mumbi said it was unfortunate that the police command would like the debate of the enforcement of the Public Order Act continue in the newspapers when the UPND had written a letter to the police stating its position on the said undertaking.
He said it was incorrect for the police to insinuate that there was still an undertaking for the UPND to commit itself to notify the police each time Mr Hichilema was going to visit, tour or attend church services in any part of the country.
Mr Mumbi told the Daily Nation that Mr Hichilema as a Zambian citizen could not be subjected to a different set of laws designed by the Zambia Police or any other politician in the country and would therefore not make such an undertaking.
He said Zambia was governed by the Constitution of which Mr Hichilema as a citizen was enjoying the freedoms and fundamental rights that could not be infringed upon by any individual irrespective of their political position.
Mr Mumbi stated that the UPND had written to the police indicating that it would endeavour to respect the Public Order Act because the opposition political party had always done so.
“It is unfortunate that the police command would like the UPND to continue to debate the Public Order Act in the newspapers. The UPND would like to correct the story in the Daily Nation of Thursday headlined ‘‘UPND dilly-dally on police undertaking.’’ It is not correct that there is still an undertaking for the UPND to commit itself to notify the police each time Mr Hichilema would want to visit, tour or attend church service. What should be taken note of is that Mr Hichilema cannot be subjected to a different set of laws designed by the police or indeed any politician. The police in reference to this matter which was maturely discussed have received a letter indicating that the UPND will respect the Public Order Act as it has always done,” he said.
Mr Mumbi was hopeful that other political parties would also emulate the UPND in respecting the law in conducting their political events.
He said the UPND would not allow Mr Hichilema’s fundamental rights such as freedom of movement, association and assembly be assaulted, stating that the UPND in respecting the Public Order Act would refer the police to the Residence Doctors Association Vs the Attorney General in the Zambia Law Report of 2003.