With memories of a serious clobbering and wounds still fresh after an incident in Katuba, National Revolution Party president Cosmo Mumba has declared war on suspected United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres whom he has threatened to smoke out with his pistol.
The incident has been condemned strongly by Government ahead of the February 25 by-election, compelling authorities to beef up security.
Dr Mumba, who walked into the Daily Mail newsroom in Lusaka yesterday, displayed his ‘smoking gun’, a pistol and announced that he was headed for Katuba constituency to sort out his attackers.
Dr Mumba, with bandaged wounds from Thursday’s beating, said he knew the cadres who assaulted him when he attempted to rescue one of his bodyguards who had been besieged by UPND cadres.
“I was in the car and my bodyguard was being attacked. I got out of the car to help him and they attacked me as well,” he said.
He said he had to fire his pistol in the air to repel the attackers.
“We were severely beaten by some UPND cadres and we are now ready to retaliate if this trend continues,” he said.
And Patriotic Front (PF) campaign manager Edgar Lungu has called on inspector-general of Police Stella Libongani to deploy more police officers in the constituency to curb the violence.
Mr Lungu, who is also Minister of Defence, said more police officers should be deployed to the area to provide security.
“The police officers should be sent to the area now and we must all [parties] comply with a police regulation to avail them our campaign trail programmes to avoid clashing,” Mr Lungu said.
Mr Lungu also condemned the beating of Dr Mumba and urged political parties to campaign peacefully through rallies, citing UPND whom he suspects are inherently violent.
“We can’t shed blood every time there is an election because we shall virtually wipe out a section of our population because whether we like it or not, there shall be an election every five years and with the violent behaviour exhibited by UPND, a population can be wiped out,” he said.
And chief government spokesman Mwansa Kapeya says the beating up of Dr Mumba is unacceptable and has warned that the culprits will be punished by the law.
Mr Kapeya said Government will not allow thugs to disrupt the peace that has characterised the campaigns.
“Government is proud of the people of Katuba for the peaceful and dignified manner in which they have conducted themselves ahead of the forthcoming by-elections.
“The people of Katuba, like their counterparts elsewhere, do not only deserve, but are entitled to a free, peaceful and conducive atmosphere in which to exercise their democratic right to choose a member of Parliament,” he said.
He also wished Dr Mumba a quick recovery.
Moses Chilando PF, Jonas Shakafuswa of UPND, Patricia Mwashingwele of the Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) and Joseph Mushalika of the National Restoration Party (NAREP) are contesting the seat which fell vacant following the death of Patrick Chikusu.
Others are Shakespeare Mwakamui of the National Revolutionary Party, Allan Malawo of UNIP and Cecil Holmes of the MMD.