HOME affairs minister Steven Kampyongo says those intending to turn Hakainde Hichilema’s police appearance in Ndola on Tuesday into a circus will be dealt with by police.
The UPND leader has been summoned by police for questioning over government allegations that he incited Kitwe riots over the ZAFFICO listing saga a fortnight ago.
Last Wednesday, PF youths led by their provincial youth chairman Nathan Chanda held a solidarity protest against what they called xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals by the UPND where they warned to declare Copperbelt a no-go area for Hichilema if the situation does not change.
Copperbelt permanent secretary Bright Nundwe, a civil servant, who received a petition from the PF cadres, revealed that he had advised security wings to be on alert for suspicious looking vehicles coming to the province to “deal with them nicely.”
About 100 people are appearing in court over the riots.
Following the PF demonstration, the UPND on November 14 wrote to Kitwe Police officer-in-charge of its intention to also hold a peaceful demonstration.
“We write to notify you of our intentions to hold a peaceful demonstration to express our displeasure on the recent happening in our country: – (1) the intentions by the PF government to list ZAFFICO on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. (2) The perceived support by the PF of the poor working conditions and slave wages which most Chinese investors are subjecting the Zambians working for them to. (3) The harsh economic challenges the Zambian youths are going through because of the bad economic policies made by the PF government,” read in part the notice. “We intend to hold this peaceful demonstration on the 19th of November, 2018 between 10:00 hours and 13:00 hours. We will march from Kitwe’s Freedom Park via President Avenue to Oxford Avenue then turn on Zambia Way to Obote Avenue to the Kitwe District Commissioner’s Office. We sincerely request express sanctioning of our notification in view of the pressing issues outlined above and with particular reference to the express Go Ahead that was given PF’s youths procession on the 13th November 2018.”
But on Friday, Kitwe police denied UPND the permit.
“This formation cannot grant permission due to the following reasons. According to the public order Act, notification should be tendered to the police seven days before the day of execution. The information which has been circulated on social media to cause disturbances countryside when HH [Hakainde Hichilema] is summoned to Ndola, is therefore a security threat. The other reason has been that a demonstration against ZAFFICO shares is a confirmation which will lead into causing another riot since the case for the rioters who were apprehended is still before the court. This may also send false alarm thereby leading to rioting,” P. Mutti officer in charge at Kitwe Central Police stated in a letter.
And in an interview, Kampyongo warned that those with no role to play at the police on Tuesday should stay away.
“We have made it very clear that this matter must not be politicised, our appeal to the leadership of the UPND is that; let their leader go to the police with only a legal team than to take other people who have no role to play whatsoever,” Kampyongo said.
“And on my part, as a person in charge of the [PF] youth, we have told our youth to stay put and remain calm because there is no need for them to go and clash with anyone.”
He said police on the Copperbelt were ready to deal with anyone who would take advantage of Hichilema’s appearance to break the law.
“So those who want to turn this into a circus will have themselves to blame because the law applies to curtail any unruly behaviour,” Kampyongo warned.
He said leaders from both the PF and UPND should guide their supporters in doing the correct thing.
“For me, my instructions will be very clear to my guys on the Copperbelt as Minister of Home Affairs. I want to appeal to those who may want to ignore our caution that they will have themselves to blame because the Zambia Police will be ready to deal with any situation that might arise,” said Kampyongo.
“He (Hichilema) must only go with the legal team to go and respond to the callout that has been given to him.”