THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has described as political harassment the arrest and detention of Patriotic Front (PF) Chongwe Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo who on Tuesday attempted to escape from lawful custody at Woodlands Police station.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema it was sad that Ms Masebo had been arrested for only walking from court to her house with her sympathisers and was harassed by the police at Woodlands Police station for telling them that she wanted to go to her home to collect her medication.
Mr Hichilema said the political persecution Ms Masebo was being subjected to, the hate speech and vulgar language including violence only served to increase political tension in the country and scare away investors.
Mr Hichilema said in a democratic country like Zambia, differences in opinions should always be encouraged because it was a platform where the best alternatives and policies to manage the economy were advanced.
“Persecuting political opponents, hate speech, vulgar language, violence only serve to increase tension in the country and scare away potential investors. This creates political instability and in a democracy like Zambia, differences in opinions must be encouraged based on who has the best and superior alternatives and policies to fix the economy and not to fix perceived political opponents. We are praying and stand with
Ms Masebo and the people of Chongwe in these trying moments,” Mr Hichilema said.
And UPND presidential spokesperson Edward Mumbi said Ms Masebo was being politically
harassed because she had differed with her political party, the Patriotic Front (PF) over the manner they were governing the country. Ms Masebo was however released from police custody after appearing before magistrate Lameck Mwale and given bail of K10 000 in her own recognizance and will appear in court for mention on 1st October, 2015 and trial will commence on 9th through to 10th November, 2015.
Mr Mumbi told journalists at the Magistrate Court yesterday that Ms Masebo was nothing but a victim of political persecution, stating that the culture was only promoting disunity in the country and should therefore be condemned.
He said if Ms Masebo had committed any crime as the police were claiming, they should have allowed her to appear before the court so that she could be heard.
Ms Masebo was scheduled to appear before the Magistrate Court yesterday morning but by 10:30 hours, her lawyers and supporters from the UPND were informed that she had been stopped from coming to court.
The lawyers and the UPND cadres later marched to Lusaka Central Police where they caused confusion in an attempt to force their way into the police premises to see Ms Masebo.
Police had to fire teargas to disperse the slogan chanting cadres who were fully dressed in the UPND chitenge material forcing the cadres to take refuge at the Levy Junction shopping complex.
The police later raided Levy Junction shopping complex to comb the area of the cadres and managed to round up a number of them who were seen being taken to the cells at Central Police.
But Mr Mumbi said the UPND had been informed that the police had received instructions from high command ordering them not to take Ms Masebo to court for her attempting to escape from lawful custody case.
“Ms Masebo is a PF member of Parliament and she is being treated like a common criminal purely because she has differed with her party in the manner they are governing. She is a victim of political persecution and this has been the culture and the nature of our politics in the last decades. We cannot continue with vengeance and retribution based on political differences and this culture is just destroying our unity and oneness. We have been reliably been informed that there is political interference in this matter because if Ms Masebo had committed any crime, she should have been allowed to come to court to be heard,” Mr Mumbi said.