By Nation Reporter
THE opposition UPND on the Copperbelt has protested over the decision by the Kitwe City Council (KCC) to cut down the tree at City Square where it put the banner bearing the portrait of its leader Hakainde Hichilema.
UPND provincial trustee Evans Lubemba said he was disappointed that the council had decided to cut down the tree where UPND was putting its banner bearing Mr Hichilema’s portrait.
The same tree has, in the run up to August 11 elections been used as a meeting place for UPND cadres and sympathizers, which included two photographers, identified as Cassius Machayi and another as Paul.
Mr Lubemba claimed the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) directed the council to cut down the tree because that was where the UPND was putting the banner bearing the portrait of Mr Hichilema.
“Apart from using the banner to put President HH’s portrait, this is where UPND members and sympathizers meet. So I think this is a directive from PF. So for them to cut this tree, it means, they are feeling our weight, but this is very unfortunate that the council can cut this tree.
“We know that PF is not comfortable with us putting our banner here. The PF is putting its banners everywhere, but no one is stopping them, but when we put a banner on a tree, the council is coming to cut down the tree. This is not good,’ Mr said Mr Lubemba
But, some UPND members and sympathizers at City Square rubbished the protest, saying the cutting of the tree was not political, but that it was an arrangement which the council made a long time because the tree had become too old and weak and could collapsed any time.
The UPND cadres, who spoke on grounds of anonymity for fear of being victimized, told the Daily Nation that protesting over the council’s decision to cut the tree where UPND was putting the banner of HH was being petty.
“No, that is not politics. For some of us who have been in Kitwe for some time, we know that the council cuts down trees which are old and weak because they can collapse any time and damage somebody’s vehicle or injure a person. Let us be objective in our politics, instead of fault finding any time.
“Okay, if the council did not cut that tree and it collapses damaging Lubemba’s vehicle. What was he going to say? It is nothing political, but a mere coincidence that the tree where they put HH’s banner is cut down by the council,” He said.