Thursday, February 28, 2013

HH had a rough night in police cells - Kapita

HH had a rough night in police cells - Kapita
By Staff Reporters
Thu 28 Feb. 2013, 13:00 CAT

OPPOSITION UPND has complained that its party leader, Hakainde Hichilema, spent a rough night in cells on Tuesday. And Southern Province police commissioner Charity Katanga says Hichilema has pure personal hatred against her.

Meanwhile, Wynter Kabimba says the PF is dismayed by what he called Hichilema's heartless but futile attempts to turn his party from culprits of the heinous crime in Livingstone, to victims of it.

And the Electoral Commission of Zambia has postponed today's by-election in Livingstone to March 14 due to political violence which led to the death of PF member Harrison Chanda.

Hichilema has since been released on a KR2,000 bail after meeting the bail conditions of two working sureties.

Hakainde, who appeared before magistrate Chola Musonda, yesterday afternoon pleaded not guilty to the charge of proposing violence.

During the proceedings, the defence applied that the case be transferred to Kalomo for security reasons and that the accused would interfere with witnesses.

The court has set March 27 and April 25, 2013 as dates for Hichilema's mention while trial dates have been set for May 26, 27 and 29.

And the case involving nine UPND cadres also arrested in connection with Chanda's death will be taken to the High Court and the accused will remain in police custody until they appear for mention on March 13.

Owing to the political violence in Livingstone, ECZ chairperson justice Irene Mambilima disclosed at a press briefing yesterday that the postponement does not affect by-elections in Mpongwe and six local government polls in various districts.

Section 28 of the electoral Act empowers the ECZ to postpone an election.

UPND cadres on Monday night attacked their PF counterparts, killing Chanda in the process.

Hichilema was on Tuesday arrested with several other party members in connection with Chanda's death.

Justice Mambilima said the Commission's assessment of the political environment in Livingstone had shown that it is not conducive to hold a free and fair election, hence the postponement.

"All stakeholders have a duty to ensure that there is a level playing field during elections and the Zambian electorate should not have to endure the trauma, intimidation or violence," she said.

Justice Mambilima said since the election campaign period expired on February 26, 2013 at 06:00 hours, there will be no political party campaigns in form of political party rallies until March 14 and advised political parties to only campaign using the print and electronic media.

And speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Kapita warned of countrywide protests should police refuse to grant Hichilema a police bond after his arrest on Tuesday.

He said the UPND lawyers had been trying to obtain bond or bail for Hichilema but that both were denied.

Kapita said police had hinted that Hichilema would be moved to Kalomo for his safety from would-be-reactors to the death of PF member Harrison Chanda.

Hichilema was on Tuesday arrested and charged with the offence of inciting violence which police had linked to the death of Chanda on Monday night.

"The president spent a rough night in cells. Our lawyers are still trying to get bail for him. Unfortunately, knowing that the police are not acting professionally and that they are receiving instructions from State House, I will not be surprised if he is not released on bail," Kapita said.

"We have also heard that they are trying to move him to Kalomo. They say that is for safety, but against who? Against what? As I speak to you, even our polling agents in Livingstone have been arrested. This is to ensure that the PF can rig elections. I appeal to our members; if you are near Mpongwe, go and help your colleagues in Mpongwe. If you are near Livingstone, jump on a bus go and monitor elections."

He said that Chanda was murdered by his fellow PF colleagues while they were jostling for money and that his blood was not on UPND.

Kapita also dismissed claims by police that various weapons were confiscated from the party's command centre.

"We have heard those reports of fights over money on a moving vehicle and they pushed that person out of the vehicle and they want to lay this blame on us. Sylvia Masebo,Obvious Mwaliteta will have blood on their hands after this matter has been concluded," said Kapita.

"After many months of trying to get HH behind bars by PF president Mr Sata, yesterday he got his wish and instructed the police to eventually arrest our president without any reasonable charge."

And UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said President Sata and PF were manipulating the violence in Livingstone to link Hakainde to murder through the police.

"He (Sata) is going to bring chaos. We would like to appeal to him to exercise all reasonableness to govern this country. The route that President Sata and the PF is taking is very dangerous," he said.

On Tuesday, before his arrest in Livingstone, Hichilema accused Katanga of being a PF cadre.

But Katanga in an interview yesterday said Hichilema told her that she is too young to hold the position of provincial police commissioner.

"Some of the issues that he says border on personal hatred. Before I was transferred here, I tried to execute my duties professionally as commissioner for Lusaka Province. Mr Hichilema came to my office and confronted me with a lot of other men which somehow I felt that it was bordering on sexual harassment and I wondered if really he meant well for me. I did not run away from my office. He told me that I am too young to occupy that office as commander and that is on record," she said.

"Surprisingly he has never approached other commanders in that manner other than me."

Katanga said it was unfair for Hichilema to accuse her of being "a sworn PF cadre who should not wear police uniform".

"Some utterances which have been made against me in my personal capacity have not been good at all. It is personal hatred. If a person has committed a crime, there are no boundaries. The fact that I am Charity Katanga doesn't come in... I have been condemned by his MPs without a just cause. It's evident that there is too much hatred. It's only that I am strong and I will not relent in my work," she said.

Katanga said it was not true that she received direct instructions from President Sata to make arrests.

"In Lusaka, I advised him (Hichilema) that the matter they wanted to demonstrate on against was in court. I used my understanding of the law that the protest could not be allowed. The President was not even around then. I am not new in the service. I have grown in the Zambia Police having joined before I was 20-years old. I have executed my duties for 17 years with a clean track record. As long as I remain a police officer, I would rather die on duty pursuing the course of justice. As a professional lawyer and also a drafter, I know the interpretation of the law and I will ensure that there is fairness regardless of the political parties involved," she said.

And Katanga said the house being used by the UPND as its command post, where weapons including machetes and knives were recovered, belongs to the party's Livingstone by-election candidate Regina Musokotwane.

"In the early hours of yesterday, we searched the house for UPND candidate madam Regina Musokotwane and you may wish to know that some machetes, knives and stones in the form of bricks were found, confiscated or removed from the house which is a command post for the UPND," she said.

Katanga said police also had information that the assailant who allegedly killed Chanda was hiding in the same house.

"Things happened so simultaneously on that day and we moved in and tried to put the pieces together. We established the likelihood that the assailant who caused that death ran to the same command post," she said.

Katanga said police had so far arrested 44 people who had been charged for various offences.

"Others not necessarily connected to the killing of Chanda were arrested. Some because they formed obstruction when police officers tried to apprehend Mr.

Hichilema. These are facing different charges and are detained in various police stations looking at the capacity of our cells. Others are at Libuyu, 32 are here (Livingstone Central Police) and others are detained at Airport police. Others will appear in court today, (yesterday)," said Katanga.

And in a statement yesterday, Kabimba stated that the PF found it disturbing that the UPND had spent the last 24 hours after the cold blooded murder of Chanda holding press briefings and using media platforms to cry for themselves instead of crying for the life they needlessly took away.

He stated that the behaviour by the UPND was typical of their "spine-chilling selfishness" and high levels of immorality that had made Zambians continue rejecting the opposition party.

"It is even more hair-raising that the UPND, immediately after murdering Mr Chanda, rather than show remorse, respect and sympathy for the dead and his family, decided to announce their strategies of how they were going to 'secure' their blood-stained votes in Livingstone," stated Kabimba who is justice minister and PF secretary general.

He stated that those who support the UPND ought to be ashamed that their topmost leadership, including Hichilema, Kapita and Kakoma, rushed to the media in an attempt to wish away the crime, made no mention of the innocent victim, but were quick to try and gain political sympathy out of it.

Kabimba added that the crime committed by the UPND in Livingstone was in line with the 'Mapatizya 'formula' which the UPND leadership had been preaching loudly and with pride.

He reminded the public that the PF had for a long time now and at several times warned against tolerating the Mapatizya formula because it was premised on terror, crime and violence, and its results were murderous acts such as the killing of Chanda.

Kabimba wondered if that was the type of behaviour for which the UPND has been seeking the support of the Commonwealth and the international community.
He stated that politics should be about safeguarding rather than taking away innocent lives.

Kabimba thanked all PF supporters and cadres, especially those in Livingstone during 'this particularly provocative period', for remaining calm and leaving the matter in the hands of the law enforcers.

He encouraged the members and supporters of the party to mourn Chanda with the dignity he deserved and continue with the maturity and peaceful conduct they had exhibited.

Kabimba expressed the party's 'utmost condolences' to the family of Chanda and assured them that the party would stand with them during this extremely painful moment.

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