THE Police command on the Copperbelt has cancelled the UPND planned campaign rally scheduled for Saturday at Kitwe’s Freedom Park following advice from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), Copperbelt Police Chief Charity Katanga has announced.
She said the ECZ had written to the police not to allow political parties to hold rallies before May 16, 2016.
On Friday, Stephen Katuka announced that UPND would on May 14, 2016 launch its campaigns dubbed “HH will fix it” in Kitwe’s Parklands area.
Equally, the Patriotic Front (PF) was scheduled to launch its 2016 campaigns at Lusaka’s Heroes Stadium but have since postponed the event following ECZ’s guidance.
Mrs Katanga said UPND had applied through the officer in-charge at Riverside Police Station, a J Manda but would NOT be allowed to go ahead because it was not campaign time yet.
“We are not going to allow any rally on the Copperbelt because this is not time for campaigns,” she said.
Mrs Katanga said although UPND had done the right thing to notify the police seven days before the event, ECZ had not permitted any political party to start campaigns yet. And in a letter addressed to Mr Katuka, Riverside Police Station officer-in-charge, Mr Manda said ECZ had announced that the campaign period would commence on May 16, 2016 and all political parties were communicated to.
“I, therefore, regret to humbly object that before the date stated above, your programme must not go ahead,” Mr Manda said.
Meanwhile, Mr Katuka who is UPND secretary general, said it was regrettable that the police in Kitwe and the Kitwe City Council had advised the party (UPND) not to hold the rally at Freedom Park on Saturday 14th May, despite giving more than one month notice to the authorities.
“This is because the ECZ has declared that the official campaign period only begins on 16th May.
“This is despite the fact that the PF has held a number of public rallies across the country in recent weeks, from Chipata to Mazabuka,” he said.
Mr Katuba said it was clear that the PF have had a free rein from the police in recent months to travel round the country and campaign without obstruction.
Meanwhile, Mr Katuka said the UPND and fellow opposition parties have had their meetings forcefully and unlawfully disrupted and been prevented from appearing on radio and TV on several occasions.