UPND warned over planned rally

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Ministry of Home Affairs has warned UPND leaders against proceeding with a planned rally in Lusaka’s Kabwata without police consent.

The ministry’s public relations officer Moses Suwali warned that UPND leaders will be held accountable for the consequences of their action if they go ahead with the rally.

Mr Suwali said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that the UPND will be breaking the law if it holds the rally without police approval.
“They will be breaking the law as they will be conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of the peace,” he said. “After being advised not to go ahead, they will have themselves to blame for the consequences of their actions and they should not claim that they were not forewarned.”

Mr Suwali said there is no need for UPND to take a confrontational approach towards police over the issue as officers are not willing to be at variance with any party.“We want to promote a spirit of dialogue as stakeholders,” he said.

He said the UPND should abide by the advice of the police not to go ahead with the rally and dialogue with law enforcement officers over the matter.“In view of police in Lusaka denying the UPND permission to hold its planned rally in Kabwata on grounds that the opposition political party cannot be trusted to hold a peaceful rally, the ministry wishes to urge the UPND to go by what the police have advised,” Mr Suwali said.

He urged the UPND to respond positively to dialogue with the police to reach an amicable solution.
“The ministry is aware that Lusaka Division Police Commissioner Joyce Kasosa has invited the UPND for dialogue over this development and the Home Affairs Ministry encourages this move,” Mr Suwali said.

But UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said despite advice from Ministry of Home Affairs to abide by police counsel, his party is determined to go ahead with its planned rally in Kabwata on Sunday.

He said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that UPND will not abide by the police advice not to go ahead with its rally but will abide by the law.

Mr Mweetwa, who is UPND Choma Central member of Parliament (MP), said his party is a law-abiding organisation and has always respected the law.

He said the leadership of UPND is not ready to negotiate with police on the enjoyment of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

This week, Mr Mweetwa has been issuing statements insisting that the opposition UPND will go ahead with its political rally in Kabwata with or without police permit.

Recently, police denied UPND permission to hold a rally in Kabwata on grounds that the police were not certain that the opposition political party can hold a peaceful rally.