THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has accused the Zambia Police of fanning anarchy by allowing President Edgar Lungu to conduct his campaigns in Mulobezi Constituency instead of its leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Special assistant (special projects) to Mr Hichilema, Edward Mumbi, said if the police were professional in their conduct, they should have stopped President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) from holding their political campaigns in Mulobezi because the opposition political party had notified the police earlier than the ruling party about their programme.
Mr Mumbi told the Daily Nation that President Lungu was in Mulobezi for party functions and the police should have allowed the UPND to hold its public meetings without interference.
Efforts to get a comment from Western Province Police Commissioner Sandwel Lungu failed as his mobile phone was switched off by press time.
Mr Mumbi said while the PF was in the opposition, the MMD could allow the party at the time to hold public meetings in the same constituency where the President was having his programmes except that the meetings were held in different wards. He said President Lungu was not in Mulobezi for his official State functions but on a PF political campaigns and the police should have known that all political parties were equal during the electioneering period.
Mr Mumbi accused the police of having been turned into an instrument of oppression against the opposition stating that the UPND was decent political party that was resisting any form of provocation from the State police.
He said the UPND had drawn up its campaign programme which was a forwarded to the police who had approved it and that it was not fair for the police to cancel Mr Hichilema’s meetings on the basis that President Lungu was in the area.
“During the MMD, the PF and the UPND could hold public meetings in different places such as Kanyama, Mandevu and Woodlands. President Lungu is in Mulobezi for a party function and not his official State function and the UPND should therefore not have been stopped from holding its meetings. During elections, all political parties are considered equal according the electoral code of conduct. The UPND had notified the police earlier than the PF and if the police were to be professional in their actions, they should have asked the PF to postpone their campaigns in Mulobezi until after Mr Hichilema was finished with his programme,” Mr Mumbi said.
He said it was unfortunate that the police were sending a wrong message that the PF was creating a one party State where only the ruling party was recognized.
Mr Mumbi stated that the UPND was not happy that the police were insinuating that Mr Hichilema did not have the constitutional rights to meet with his supporters in an area where there was the presence of the Head of State.
He said the police would be encouraging violence among political parties if they would start acting in a partisan manner and advised that Mr Hichilema should not be stopped to conduct his political programmes.
He said Western Province Police Commissioner Sandwel Lungu should be aware that he was a civil servant and should not use his position to advance his personal agenda.