Saturday, March 02, 2013

Sata warns UPND over violence

Sata warns UPND over violence
By Staff Reporters
Fri 01 Mar. 2013, 11:20 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has warned the UPND to either change their approach to politics or face the full wrath of the law. And President Sata has commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for valuing lives more than elections by postponing the Livingstone parliamentary by-election.

"As a responsible government, sworn to safeguard, defend and protect lives and property in this country; we will not allow this culture to take root. And I call upon the UPND in particular, and all stakeholders in the governance of our country in general, to condemn this systematic reckless loss of innocent lives because it will not benefit anyone.

I condemn this violence in the strongest terms possible and warn the
UPND in particular to either change their approach or face the full wrath of the law," he said.

"We lost a member in Rufunsa at the hands of UPND; we have lost another member in Livingstone at the hands of UPND yet again. Clearly, these calculated acts of brutality are at the behest of the enemies of democracy whose political thrust is abominable hate and intolerance,"

President Sata said in a statement issued by his special assistant for
press and public relations George Chellah that the UPND leadership ought to be mindful that violence breeds violence and no one would benefit from a culture of bloodshed in politics.

President Sata urged PF members and other law-abiding citizens to desist from retaliatory actions but let the law take its course.

"We have to be proud of our record as a party that in our 10 years journey to victory; we showed love, care and compassion to every
Zambian regardless of their political affiliation; we never killed or maimed any person during our struggle in opposition. I believe this
is a record worth emulating by all those aspiring to rule this country in the future. Let us all be cognisant of the fact that our motherland can only thrive on love and peace," President Sata said.

"As a civilised society, our central aim should be to compete on ideas and
values; not insults, hate, intolerance and violence. No doubt, the UPND have decided that violence is profitable for them, which is why they shamelessly market their so-called 'Mapatizya formular', which is
a coded language for attacking and maiming political opponents."

And President Sata said the ECZ's decision should demonstrate to all
that the institution was operating independently and that violence
would not be condoned.

President Sata said it was disgraceful and cruel that those who killed
wanted to pretend to be victims.

Several UPND officials including party president Hakainde Hichilema were arrested over the hacking to death of PF official Harrison Chanda in Livingstone.

The Livingstone by-elections have since been rescheduled to this month.
But Hichilema yesterday claimed President Sata hated him to the bone.

"You can read it yourself when he says 'I'm a thief', you know that Sata hates me to the bone. If I was a thief , I would have been in (prison) a very long time," said Hichilema.

On Tuesday before he was picked up over the death of Chanda, Hichilema said President Sata had no brains and had failed to run the country.
But President Sata said he had "no brains" because he was "not a thief".
President Sata said he had worked for what he had.

Meanwhile Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani said that the situation in Livingstone was manageable.

She said that the ECZ should have consulted her office before postponing the Livingstone Central parliamentary by-election.
On Wednesday, ECZ chairperson Justice Irene Mambilima announced the postponement of the by-election to March 14, owing to a "tense political situation" in the tourist capital.

But Libongani said police were ready to manage the situation in Livingstone.

"ECZ did not consult with us before making the announcement. If they consulted us, we would have advised them to go ahead with the election. We have over 300 police officers locally and we also transferred about 150 other officers from the Copperbelt to help with patrols, checkpoints and investigate criminal cases including those that have already been reported," she said.

Libongani called on ECZ to call for the Livingstone election earlier than March 14.

"We want to assure ECZ and the people of Zambia that the situation in Livingstone is conducive to hold the election any day, even tomorrow, they can hold the election. We are here on the ground and the situation is under control. It is manageable," said Libongani.

And ECZ director Priscilla Isaacs said the postponement and halting of any form of campaigns in form of political rallies and meetings in Livingstone was inevitable as the area was "highly and is still precarious".

Isaacs said that the Electoral Act under Section 28 clearly mandated the organisation to set the election timetable, which also included the campaign period.

Isaac said that all communication to electorates and party officials would be done through the media, while ECZ would undertake mobile publicity to remind voters on the new date of polls.

"The law is very clear. We never consult when setting the date. We can consult in some circumstances but there comes a time when we have to make a decision. In any case, we warned the political parties that if they misbehave the election would be postponed."

Isaacs said they expected the police to take action on those parties that would defy the directive regardless.

And a Livingstone resident, Pemba Mulongwe, said the postponement of the election showed that ECZ was working independent of government.

"For the first time, we have seen a government funded institution prove that it is working independently. I am happy that ECZ made this decision. We will now go back to our usual businesses in Livingstone, but at the same time it is an indication that the executive is not interfering with the operations of ECZ," he said.

Some voters in Livingstone who did not get the news of the postponement went to cast their ballots yesterday morning but were sent back from selected polling stations in the outskirts of the city.

Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested Livingstone mayor Aggrey Njekwa with two others in connection with the death of Chanda.

And nine UPND officials who include two Hichilema's bodyguards appeared before Livingstone magistrate Chola Musonda on one count of obstructing police officers from carrying out their duties.

Southern Province police commissioner Charity Katanga said the investigations over the arrest of the mayor were still ongoing.

"Yes, I can confirm we have arrested and detained the mayor who first resisted police arrest by locking himself in the house. Our officers had gone there around 02:00 hours and when he resisted to open the door saying he wanted a lawyer, they waited and about 05-06 when they were about to break his door, he obliged and opened the door," Katanga said.

She said two other people were arrested together with Njekwa and that an offensive weapon had been recovered.

And magistrate Chola granted nine UPND officials Kr 1,000 bail after they appeared in court for obstruction.

Magistrate Chola said he saw no security risk and threat to Zambia's peace in the nine accused persons who included Ezron Moono and Spearman Mubuluma who are Hichilema's body guards, all of Lusaka.

Others are Manyika Nabwenga, Victor Chiomo, Daniel Mizinga, Vincent Mulongo, Tobias Haloba all of Lusaka and Orbert Mulomba and Reagan Hamaleka both of Kalomo.

Trial has been set for May 29 while March 27 and April 25 have been reserved for mention.

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