UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has declared that police had no right to cause the postponement of their campaigns even if it coincided with the presidential programme.
Now a possible clash between the United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Zambia Police in Mulobezi Constituency is looming as the opposition political party has vowed to go ahead with its campaigns despite having been notified to reschedule their meetings until after the presidential programme in the area.
President Edgar Lungu is today expected in Mulobezi to drum up support for the Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Patricia Mulaskwanda in the 30th June parliament by-election and the police in Western Province have advised the UPND to delay their activities but the opposition political party has rejected the advice. Western Province Police Commissioner Standwel Lungu told the Sunday Nation yesterday that all campaign meetings for the UPND have been cancelled during the time President Lungu would be in Mulobezi and that the opposition party leaders had been notified about the development.
Mr Hichilema said Mulobezi had six wards and that the meetings would be held in different locations and his party was therefore not going to accept to be stopped from holding their campaigns.
He stated that the police should instead ask President Edgar Lungu to postpone his campaigns in Mulobezi because the UPND had notified the police about their meetings earlier than the PF.
Mr Hichilema said President Lungu’s campaign meetings in Mulobezi were allegedly designed to disturb the UPND and the police should therefore consider policing the PF campaigns instead of threatening to disperse the people that would be gathered.
“I am on my way to Mulobezi and we are going to have our campaigns tomorrow (today). We had notified the police about our meetings much earlier than the PF and the police had agreed to our schedule of meetings. So if the police are serious about being professional in their operations, they should ask President Lungu to postpone his campaigns. This is a one party mentality and we are not going to accept it. There are six wards in Mulobezi and we are going to be in different locations and we will go ahead with our campaigns,” Mr Hichilema said.
But Western Province Police Commissioner Lungu said the UPND risked having their meetings dispersed if they were going to dare the police and attempt to conduct their campaigns while President Lungu was in the area.
Mr Lungu said the UPND had been notified that their campaigns had been cancelled until after President Lungu completed his programme. He said the police has had meetings with the UPND leadership at which it was agreed to delay their campaigns until after the presidential programme.
“All campaign meetings for the UPND have been cancelled because of the presidential programme in the area. We would not be able to have enough manpower to police the two different political campaigns and we have written to the UPND about the development. But if they want to dare the police, let them know that we shall disperse them. We shall deal with that situation if it is going to happen,” Mr Lungu said.