Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By Allan Mulenga and Fridah Nkonde
Tue 17 July 2012, 11:00 CAT
THE planned peaceful protest among Mongu residents against President Michael Sata's remarks over the Litunga failed to take-off on Saturday after police intervened.
And Western Province police commissioner Fanwell Siandenge confirmed the cancellation of the protest because the protestors did not have a police permit. Sources disclosed that pockets of people from various towns in the province gathered at Shoprite as early as 07:00 hours to stage a peaceful protest.
The source said some of the people from Western Province were seemingly angered by President Sata's statement at State House that the Litunga, like any other chief, did not enough powers.
President Sata, in response to an opposition leader's remark that the government was planning to take away some of the Litunga's powers, said government had no intention of getting any of the traditional ruler's powers.
And Siandenge explained that protestors, who wanted to walk along Mongu road from Shoprite, were told to use the right forum when airing their grievances and not to take to the streets.
"We just got wind of it, then we called their leaders yesterday at the office where we had a very fruitful discussion with them. We advised the organisers of the same protest that it was not the right forum.
They should have informed us seven days before getting on to action. Demonstration against the head of state, it is not possible that as police we can grant it. But if they are aggrieved, we have the provincial administration. They can take their grievances to the two.
Then it is from there, that is when we can know the way forward… not to protest. They agreed to our advise so tomorrow today they are supposed to meet the provincial administration to hear their grievances," he said.
Siandenge explained that the police command in the province sought an audience with leaders of the planned protest.
¨They wanted to protest on Mongu Road from Shoprite, but when we called their leaders they all came to the police station. It was quite a big number that came to the police station. But they never protested. I just phoned them.
I have their numbers and then they came together with their youths at the police station. We had a Mr Sinonge and Muyangana Muyangana," he said.
Siandenge said the leaders of the protestors talked to those who wanted to demonstrate.
And Western Province minister John Kufuna allayed fears of insecurity in the area.
Kufuna said the situation in Western Province was peaceful, adding that he was not aware of any protest in the province against President Sata's statement over the Litunga.
"As far as I'm concerned, I did not see any protest in the province. I was at the office from morning up to very late in the afternoon and I did not see or hear anything," he said.
When asked whether he was aware about the Litunga's subjects had planned to match to the provincial offices on Monday (today) as a way of showing their displeasure about President Sata's remarks against their chief, Kufuna said he was not aware.