Some individuals calling themselves Barotseland Liberation Army are distributing fliers stating that they will not allow any politician from Northern Rhodesia to hold campaign meetings ahead of the August 11 general elections, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has revealed.
He has however warned that the Zambia Police would not condone any individual or group of individuals who want to abrogate the country’s laws with impunity and that those found wanting would be arrested and prosecuted.
Mr Kanganja said Zambia was a country governed by laws and it was the duty of every individual to see to it that peace prevailed at all times, adding that the police was an institution with the mandate of maintaining peace in the country.
“We are therefore warning all those that would want to cause confusion in this country that we are not going to tolerate them but ensure that they are arrested and taken to court,” he said
And Mr Kanganja has since warned cadres of all political parties to refrain from engaging in violent activities in the name of politics because anyone that would want to ignore the provisions of the law would not be spared.
But former Ngambela and Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) chairman Clement Sinyinda said he was not aware of such a group, but that some scrupulous people wanted to engage in illegal activities to take advantage of the situation in Western province.
Mr Sinyinda said genuine advocats of self-determination in Western Province would never engage in violence because their stance was for an amicable solution.
He said it was for that reason they signed a covenant with the Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization (UNPO) which does not allow any form of violence.
“We don’t know anything of such a group (Barotseland Liberation Army) in Western Province and all those who are engaging in violence and any other forms of bringing confusion in Western Province are not part of the Barotse alliance, but just some individuals who want to dent our image by taking advantage of the situation in Western Province.
“UNPO principles do not allow any form of violence whenever people want a solution, but believes in human rights and democracy because the moment we do that, we will be dismissed and that will not yield any result,” he said.
He said BNFA would not tolerate any form of violence and intimidation, when dialogue was the only way of finding an amicable solution.
Mr Sinyinda urged the Zambian authorities to seriously engage all the relevant stakeholders, including the international community, to resolve issues pertaining to Western Province, adding that violence, intimidation and arrests would not change anything unless there was room for dialogue.
He said the longstanding dispute regarding Barotseland Agreement 1964 needed serious attention because such had been the status quo for 52 years.
“I am appealing to all those concerned with Barotseland not to alarm the situation because it will not help solve anything; people have been threatened, intimidated, harassed and so on but the issue is still going on because nothing can be resolved with use of force. Our appeal is to solve those issues amicably through dialogue,” he said.