Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Police itching for action against aggressors at by-elections - Jere

Police itching for action against aggressors at by-elections - Jere
By Edwin Mbulo, Brina Siwale and Ernest Chanda
Tue 05 Feb. 2013, 15:10 CAT

DEPUTY Inspector General of Police, Solomon Jere, has warned that police are in full control of Livingstone and itching for action against anybody with an agenda of destabilising the February 28 by-elections.

And UPND Livingstone district spokesperson Neto Habalwa has demanded an apology from justice minister Wynter Kabimba for linking the party to the death of Western Province minister Obvious Mwaliteta's brother-in-law and houseboy Joana Liakoka and says UPND will sue Kabimba over the accusation.

But Kabimba has dared the UPND to go ahead with the legal suit.

Briefing the press yesterday, Jere said police were in Livingstone in "full force" to ensure peaceful elections.

"We have come in full force into Livingstone. We have enough manpower that we have organised within the Zambia Police to make sure that peace prevails in case there is somebody who will come up with a different agenda to try to destabilise Livingstone. They must know that they are doing it on a very wrong platform because we are itching for action as well. We have brought a full force of police to come and enforce peaceful elections in Livingstone," Jere said.

He said police would not allow the destabilisation of free flow of interaction of people in Southern Province.

Jere said the police did not know yet what led to the death of Liakoka.

"The postmortem was conducted and doctors have travelled back to their laboratories to conduct further investigations as to the actual cause of the death, but results would be made known after a full analysis is done by the investigators. For now we appeal to all the stakeholders in this election to hold their emotions and give us an opportunity to investigate fully well. They should concentrate on peaceful campaigns and peaceful elections so that at the end of it, Livingstone should continue to be peaceful as we have known it to be," he said.

Jere said the police was mindful that Livingstone was the host city for the UNWTO General Assembly in August and would like to maintain the peaceful record the tourist capital and Zambia had.

And Habalwa said the UPND had engaged its lawyers to ensure that Kabimba gives them proof that the party was connected to Liakoka's death who was killed in unclear circumstances on Saturday.

He said the UPND found it strange and unfortunate that Kabimba would issue alarming statements against the party.

"We demand an apology from the PF, Mwaliteta and also from the Minister of Justice, including Katanga. We want to advise the PF that we are watching their steps because from the time we started campaigning, they have been provoking us and in an event that we protect ourselves, they become arrogant," he said.

He said the UPND would not sit idle and allow the PF to continue provoking the party and giving it a tag of being violent.

"The PF here in Livingstone is becoming very malicious towards us. And we want to make it clear to the police that they should be professional in their conduct, especially Katanga. This is a very serious warning because it is malicious for her to issue unwarranted statements because the first suspects should be the people the boy was with," said Habalwa.

He accused the PF of being ruthless and that UPND would do everything it could to protect itself.

Habalwa said the police should hold Mwaliteta and others accountable for Liakoka's death.

"If Mwaliteta and the people that were with the boy are not picked up, then we shall conclude that the police and the PF have formed a cartel to cause murders in the country," said Habalwa.

And the UPND has attributed the death of Liakoka and North Western Province minister Steven Masumba's son to evils in the PF.

Liakoka was hacked to death in Livingstone last Saturday.

UPND Livingstone campaign manager Garry Nkombo said the party had already instructed lawyers to sue Kabimba and Mwaliteta.

Nkombo, who is also the party's Mazabuka member of parliament, accused Kabimba and Mwaliteta of duping The Post over the duo's stories published by the newspaper on Sunday and yesterday.

"This is a serious allegation and it must be given the serious response that it deserves. The first point of call is that Mr Kabimba and his associates will have to be brought to the court of law to prove this allegation. Mr Kabimba, being the Minister of Justice, must be reminded that justice is not selective. We consider this statement that he has put not only irresponsible but also dishonourable," Nkombo told journalists in Lusaka yesterday.

"I want to make an appeal to Mr Sata who has just returned this morning to this country that he requires, as a matter of urgency, to cage and tame the tongues of people like Mr Wynter Kabimba. We are not only going to sue Mr Kabimba, we are going to write a complaint letter to the Electoral Commission of Zambia so that they can actually evoke the penalties that accrue to some of these misdeeds as perpetrated by the minister on injustice Mr Wynter Kabimba."

Nkombo claimed Kabimba had breached the electoral code of conduct through his statements.

He said Kabimba's accusation had contradicted Katanga's statement in yesterday's Times of Zambia that preliminary postmortem results revealed that Liakoka died from a road traffic accident.

But Kabimba said Nkombo had a constitutional right to take anyone to court if he felt aggrieved.

"It is the law that will meet them, not even myself. So until I see the nature of the action, the only thing that I can say is that let them go ahead," say Kabimba.

"Every citizen in this country is free to go to court; that's what our Constitution guarantees. So, if Mr Garry Nkombo thinks that he has a case to take to court, he's free to do so. Nobody should dissuade him from doing that."

Meanwhile, Nkombo accused the PF of shedding blood because of evil acts in the party.

"If UPND was a party that believed in trivialities, a lot would have been said. And what I'm trying to say is that a lot of unfortunate things have been happening and associated to the Patriotic Front. They say that evil follows evil, so one may want to ask themselves, why is it that the Patriotic Front is surrounded by all these misfortunes?" asked Nkombo.

"If it's not the death of a minister's son in a swimming pool, it is the death of a minister's cook, it is the death of Namulambe's supporter. Doesn't the country want to ask itself a question, why is there blood that is associated with PF? If we were trivial as a party, I think we would have towed on that line. But we want to embark and adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct which is moving our campaigns alongside issue-based and not trivialities."

On Sunday, Kabimba said since the UPND struggled to find a candidate in the Livingstone Central parliamentary by-election, it was clear that the party was aware of its impending loss and therefore resorted to violence as a way of instilling fear in voters.

Last month, the UPND warned of using the Mapatizya formula in future by-elections to curb what they termed vote rigging.

The Mapatizya formula is a term used to describe the violence that erupted between the then ruling MMD and opposition UPND in the Mapatizya parliamentary by-election in 2003 that left over 10 people seriously injured.

"I think it's time that the people of Zambia held UPND to account and its leadership for cultivating violence during elections or election campaigns. Starting from that Mapatizya formula during the 2003 by-election in Mapatizya and all the other by-elections in which the UPND has participated," Kabimba said.

"The Mufumbwe one in April 2010, the Chongwe incident, the by-election in Livingstone in 2012; in all these by-elections UPND's credentials can be that of a political party that believes that winning an election must be predicated on cultivating fear and intimidation in the electorate. And this is a political party that cries foul when they are not given an opportunity by the police on security grounds to hold a public rally."

Kabimba said the UPND had identified itself as a party that believed in violence.

Meanwhile, six political parties in Livingstone have committed themselves to ensuring that the forthcoming by-elections are held in peaceful and violence-free manner.

Speaking on behalf of the other political parties during a press briefing at the Civic Centre, UPND acting chairperson Rose Sianjase said the political parties would promote harmony.

"We, being the representatives of the six political parties namely UNIP, PF, ADD, UPND, MMD and ULP and being members of the Livingstone district political party liaison committee, wish to commit ourselves, our political parties and our members to promote peace and harmony before, during and after the by-election," Sianjase said.

She said the political parties should also ensure good electoral practice.
She said all the political parties should condemn violence and urge their members to desist from all forms of violence and electoral malpractice.

"We also want to thank the Electoral Commission of Zambia for the formation of the district political party liaison committee which was rolled out today in Livingstone. We believe this interface among political parties will greatly enhance understanding of the electoral matters at district level," said Sianjase.

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