IT is now clear to us that the Lusaka Province Police Commander Charity Katanga is unable to differentiate between a public figure visiting, meeting and greeting Zambians from a procession, assembly or demonstration, says UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma.
“If in 2015, Ms Charity Katanga is unable to grasp concepts of public figures meeting and greeting their own citizens in their own country, then we as a country have made very little progress and she is not fit to be a Police Commissioner,” he said.
Mr Kakoma was reacting to Ms Katanga’s decision to summon acting UPND Secretary General Kuchunga Simusamba to her office on Friday where he was informed that the Police wished to have a detailed tour programme of Mr Hichilema indicating exactly where and for how long he would be touring each area in a particular constituency and also the names of UPND marshals who would be accompanying him.
Ms. Katanga claimed that Mr. Hichilema’s tours, which would be countrywide, constituted a procession, assembly, and demonstration as provided for in the Public Order Act.
Prior to the summoning of Mr Simusamba, Ms Katanga had sent a squadron of armed Police officers to Kalingalinga Township where Mr Hichilema was expected to tour and visit residences in his continued interaction with the local communities.
Mr Kakoma said UPND did not believe that Mr. Hichilema’s programme of visiting citizens’ homes, markets, trading areas, and even his private properties such as his house in Kalingalinga Compound constituted any of the ridiculous provisions as provided for in the colonial and archaic Public Order Act.
“UPND notified the Police on Thursday 21st May 2015 of our president Hakainde Hichilema’s Lusaka Constituency tour programme from 22-31 May 2015. But in the morning till later in the afternoon, the Lusaka Police Command sent hundreds of officers in the entire Kalingalinga township area where Mr. Hichilema was scheduled to visit some homes including his private property built in that area. Ms Charity Katanga is unable to grasp concepts of public figures meeting and greeting their own citizens in their own country,” he said.
The Police and UPND have differed on the Kabwata Police Station undertaking on which the security wing wanted Mr Hichilema to provide details of his tours.
The Lusaka Police command has insisted that Mr Hichilema’s tours should be backed by details as required by the Public Order Act while the opposition has argued that this was not necessary.