THE United Party for National Development (UPND) is peddling lies that its procession on Friday was blocked, Lusaka Province police commissioner Charity Katanga has charged.
Ms Katanga said in an interview that when UPND notified police about their president Hakainde Hichilema’s tour, her office gave a go-head but was surprised that the opposition party was claiming it was blocked.
“The UPND will not intimidate me because it is the duty of the police to ensure that there is law and order in the country. I am not a political cadre but a career and professional policewoman who is religiously carrying out my duties and it is therefore unfortunate that the UPND is accusing me of being unprofessional,” she said.
Ms Katanga said the only date that the police and the UPND did not agree over was today when the opposition political party was planning to hold it’s political activities on the Africa Freedom Day holiday.
She explained that the police had informed the UPND leadership that it was not possible for them to conduct their political activities because the Zambia Police was overwhelmed with the policing during the Africa Freedom Day celebrations.
Ms Katanga reiterated that she was a civil servant and was not expected to be engaging into a political verbal contest with the UPND, adding that she did not care what the opposition political party was thinking about her because they were not her employers.
“The UPND have had their notification endorsed for the political processions save for tomorrow (today) because the police will be policing the Africa Freedom Day. But it is surprising that even after they have been granted what they want, they still run to the media to peddle lies that we are blocking them.
We deployed police in Kalingalinga because of the security concerns that were raised and I am not supposed to be talking about such security risks.
I am a career and professional police officer and let them know that I am not a political cadre.
We have granted them what they have asked for and we shall just wait and see how they will be conducting themselves,” she said.
Ms Katanga said there were times when the UPND would fail to hold their meetings for unexplained reasons and they would instead blame the police for failing to organize themselves.
She said the police would continue allowing the UPND wishes to conduct processions as long as they continued complying with the demands of the Public Order Act.
Ms Katanga said it was not correct for the UPND to have developed hatred against her for doing her work, stating that the opposition political party should avoid taking State work too personal against her.
The UPND has alleged that it was clear that Ms Katanga was not able to differentiate between a public figure visiting, meeting and greeting Zambians from a political procession, assembly or demonstration.