TWO suspected United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres have been arrested for violence which left seven vehicles extensively damaged, Lusaka Province commissioner of police Lemmy Kajoba has said.
Mr Kajoba said about 20 armed and masked men suspected to be UPND cadres yesterday caused havoc at Chris Corner area in Lusaka’s Chilenje township violently attacking people, robbing shops and damaging property.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said he had not yet received a report on the matter.
Mr Kajoba said the two suspected UPND cadres were arrested after the incident.
“This was proper aggravated robbery and we will treat them as criminals. They forced entry into people’s shops and robbed them. And the vehicles that were damaged had nothing to do with politics. These were mere citizens waiting to watch the Zambia/ Congo game,” he said.
Mr Kajoba said police will not allow anyone to instil fear in people.
He said police swiftly moved into the area and were by press time still patrolling to ensure there were no further skirmishes.
A check by the Daily Mail team found a string of damaged vehicles.
“I just came to visit a friend here when the UPND cadres descended on us. They have damaged my car, as you can see for yourself,” said a visibly shaken George Mungalu.
Another motorist whose car was extensively damaged was allegedly abducted and beaten up.
“I was abducted and badly beaten. They stole my phones and money. They further got my laptop in my car,” said Patrick Mukosha, who was seemingly in pain.
Another eyewitness only identified as Ruth said the UPND cadres also allegedly robbed a bakery of all the cashing of the day.
She however could not state how much money was stolen.
And Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Davies Chama said it is sad that the UPND has resorted to violence.
Mr Chama said the UPND wants to bring confusion but Zambians will not allow them.
“When we win, we will propose to ban violent political parties. I appeal to our members to remain calm even under this extreme provocation,” Mr Chama said.
And UPND cadres yesterday harassed a Zambia Daily Mail reporter who had gone to cover a press briefing at the party secretariat.
Nancy Siame was assigned to cover the press briefing which was scheduled to be addressed by party president Hakainde Hichilema at 13:30 hours but was later cancelled.
“When I reached the secretariat, I was told by Mr Charles Kakoma, the UPND spokesperson, that the briefing had been cancelled,” she said.
Ms Siame said she then went outside to call for transport from the office and as she was making a call, some cadres who were mobilising themselves in readiness to get on a bus followed her and interrogated her.
She said the cadres inquired who she was calling and why she was at their premises.
“Before I could speak, several cadres surrounded me and started harassing me. They tore my handbag and tried to grab my purse. They grabbed my phone, a blackberry, and scrolled through to check who I was calling,” Ms Siame said.
She said the cadres accused her of being a spy sent by the PF and efforts by the reporter to explain her mission at the premises were not entertained.
Ms Siame said the cadres dragged her and threatened to beat her but was rescued by Mr Kakoma.
Mr Kakoma retrieved her phone from the cadres and escorted her to the Zambia Daily Mail-branded vehicle, which the cadres threatened to destroy.
“I was gripped with fear and in the struggle to protect my purse from being stolen, two of my nails were broken and I sustained slight injuries,” she said.
Ms Siame said the cadres warned that they would deal with any journalist from the Daily Mail or any public media.
She reported the matter to police.
And when contacted for a comment, Mr Kakoma confirmed the incident and apologised on behalf of the UPND, saying Ms Siame was mistaken for a PF cadre.
Zambia Daily Mail