Friday, November 06, 2009

MMD cadres disrupt UPND-PF pact rally in Solwezi

MMD cadres disrupt UPND-PF pact rally in Solwezi
By Zumani Katasefa and Speedwell Mupuchi
Fri 06 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT

MMD cadres on Wednesday allegedly disrupted a UPND and PF pact campaign rally at Chisalala Middle Basic School in chief Kapijimpanga’s area in Solwezi.

UPND vice-president Richard Kapita complained yesterday that it was not fair for the MMD to disrupt the meeting when UPND had already obtained a police permit for the venue.

“We had obtained a police permit for that venue and the MMD were very much aware about that. These are some of the things that encourage violence,” he said.

Kapita said the head teacher of Chisalala Middle Basic School where the meeting was supposed to take place told UPND leaders that they were not supposed to hold the meeting at that school because the venue was reserved for MMD.

He said people who had gone to attend the meeting were turned away and that the meeting was only held after MMD left the area.

“But only a few people attended the meeting, most of them turned away because they feared that violence may break out,” he said.

Kapita said the UPND had complained to relevant authorities over the behaviour of the police.

He said UPND was aware that the MMD planned to bribe villagers in Kyabakanga and Kainamfumu with bags of fertiliser so that they could vote for MMD candidate Albert Chifita.

“But we are not going to allow them, we are going to stop that,” Kapita said.
He said UPND cadres were on alert, adding that they would fight any electoral malpractices by the MMD in the Solwezi Central by-election.
Meanwhile, UPND Copperbelt Province youth vice-chairman Kelly Jibinga said UPND and PF youths from the Copperbelt on Tuesday left for Solwezi to beef up their campaigns.

“We sent a group of 60 youths, we are yet to send more on Friday today,” he said.
Four candidates are taking part in the Solwezi Central by-election.
The aspiring candidates are Albert Chifita from MMD, UPND’s Watson Lumba, Muhhamed Kalela of Forum for Democratic Alternatives and an independent candidate Thomas Kafula.

And suspected MMD cadres in Solwezi’s Kyawama Township on Sunday allegedly assaulted two UPND cadres.

Kapita said a medical report had been obtained.
He said the cadres were attacked when they were campaigning for the party’s candidate, Lumba.

“I can confirm that two of our members were attacked and assaulted by MMD thugs, this happened in Kyawama township where they were doing their campaigns. You know Kyawama has 10,000 registered voters, so it is a battle ground,” he said.
Kapita said despite the violence from the MMD, the people of Solwezi were geared for change.

“Mangani home affairs minister issued a wrong statement that the opposition was perpetrating violence in Solwezi, yet it is the MMD thugs who are behind this violence. Mangani should understand that people of Solwezi have decided to bring change in Solwezi,” he said.

He said the move by the government to deploy about 70,000 police officers from Kamfinsa would not intimidate the people of Solwezi who he said would go ahead and vote out the MMD.

“We are reliably informed that the MMD have brought four buses of MMD youths from Lusaka to come and cause violence here in Solwezi. This must not be encouraged. We are going to defend ourselves in the field,” he said.

Kapita further alleged the MMD want to use chiefs from Mwinilunga, Zambezi, Kasempa and Chavuma and district commissioners to help in campaigning for Chifita.
He advised chiefs to stay away from politics adding that they should not allow themselves to be used by politicians.

“We respect our chiefs, they should not allow themselves to be used by politics, so we advise them to stay away,” said Kapita.

North Western Province police commanding officer Fabian Katiba said he was not aware about the assault of the UPND cadres.

MMD campaign manager Kabinga Pande said the MMD campaign was in full swing.
“We have deployed our people in the campaign, nothing like money has not been sent,” Pande said dispelling reports that the MMD campaign had suffered a setback because State House had not sent money for the campaign. “Everything is in full swing. We are happy with the response from the voters who have assured us of votes. We trust the people of Solwezi, they are the same people who have been voting for us, we have been with them.”

Pande said campaigns were going on peacefully and believed such atmosphere would continue into the polling day, on November 29.

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