NGOCC has strongly condemned the violence by PF cadres on civil society

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Bible Gospel Church in Africa

THE Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has condemned in the strongest terms the violent attacks by Patriotic Front cadres on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that gathered yesterday on May 31th at Matero’s Bible Gospel Church in Africa for a prayer meeting. The prayer meeting was held on the removal of subsidies because of the denial by the police for the CSOs to hold a peaceful demonstration.

In a statement released to the media and signed by the chairperson Beatrice Grillo, NGOCC said that they noted with great sadness and concern that this barbaric act comes barely two weeks after a similar attack on opposition party members who were going to address a meeting in Kanyama.

“As NGOCC, we believe that every citizen has a right to freedom of assembly and as such the CSOs were justified to have a meeting. The fact that the violence took place in a church which is considered as a holy place is very unfortunate. As a women’s movement, we are wondering where people can gather and speak freely on matters that affect their livelihood and well-being. Where is democracy in Zambia? We are therefore calling upon all peace loving Zambians to condemn this barbaric act. This violent act will instill fear in the esteemed citizenry to discuss matters of national interest,” read the statement.

“As a women’s movement, we believe that violence can never be a solution to any perceived differences but there are other peaceful and constructive means of resolving differences. The Patriotic Front Government in general and its cadres in particular should exercise maximum tolerance of divergent views and opinions as opposed to violence and intimidation which is not a solution and will only hinder development at the expense of the innocent Zambians.”

In conclusion NGOCC urged the Patriotic Front Government to publicly denounce the cadres and condemn the violent acts.

“We further call upon the Inspector General of Police and her officers to ensure that justice prevails by arresting the people who were involved in this attack, ” ended the statement.

Today , PF of youths stormed the church, beating up journalists and the organisers who included leaders of various churches.

The cadres armed with planks, sjamboks and other weapons entered the church in Matero Township saying they would not allow people talking ill about the PF Government.

The violence erupted shortly after Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) overseer Peter Ndhlovu led the members of CSOs in praying for peace, love and unity to prevail in Zambia as well as extending prayers for President Michael Sata, his Cabinet and the citizenry at large.

The PF cadres stormed the building around 11.00 hours when CSOs representative and Anti-Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) executive director Richwell Mulwani was delivering his speech.

The cadres armed with planks, sjamboks and other weapons entered the church in Matero Township saying they would not allow people talking ill about the PF Government.

Among those either beaten or roughed up within and outside the church were camera persons from ZNBC and another believed to have come from the Office of the President (OP) as well Bishop Ndhlovu and former Church of God overseer John Mambo.

She said the organisers did not respond to her letter regarding their indoor venue, adding that she had only learnt that they were going to hold their meeting in Matero through the media.

Others caught up in the fracas were Mr Mulwani, MMD vice-president (political) Michael Kaingu and Senanga United Party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament Likando Mufalali.

Operation Young Vote (OYV) executive director Guess Nyirenda, child rights activist Godfrey Simukonde and former PF member Sam Zulu were also not spared by the angry youths believed to have come in a Canter truck which they had parked meters away from the church.

The uncompromising youths were also not sparing suspicious looking individuals loitering within the church premises.

Besides injuring some of the congregants, the youths damaged equipment belonging to journalists and were seen banging on some parked vehicles.

And Lusaka province police Chief Joyce Kasosa has said that she was saddened that the meeting ended up the way it did and attributed that to failure by the organisers to inform the police that they were going to converge in Matero.

Kasosa said she had written to the Black Friday organisers to settle for an indoor venue other than the outdoor location (Freedom Statute) they had earlier requested for as the former venues were easy to manage than the latter.

She said the organisers did not respond to her letter regarding their indoor venue, adding that she had only learnt that they were going to hold their meeting in Matero through the media.

Kasosa said the police would have offered the necessary security had they been furnished with information on the venue of the meeting and the fracas prevented.

She said two people, whom she could not immediately mention, had formally made a complaint of assault at Matero Police and were issued with medical reports, an indication that investigations had been launched, but that no arrests were made by press time.

 

LVNews

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