By KALOBWE BWALYA and SIMON MUNTEMBA
A spate of violence, looting and damage of public property by overzealous UPND cadres has forced the Police to swing into action and deploy more officers.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo warned that persons who would be found wanting would be dealt with mercilessly.
Ms Katongo said 15 people had been arrested in connection with the violence and looting in Lusaka and at ECL Shopping Mall in Kitwe.
She disclosed that police arrested four people from Lusaka and 11 on the Copperbelt and they will appear in court soon.
“Police officers have been deployed in areas that have been feasted by violence and other illicit activities,” said Ms Katongo.
Ms. Katongo said in an interview that police were following up on culprits that took part in the looting.
She said the current situation where a lot of people were on the ground, was difficult to know what was happening and police were finding it hard to execute their duties.
Ms Katongo noted that criminals were taking advantage of the victory celebrations and want to act as cadres.
Meanwhile, several stakeholders have condemned the violence and looting that has rocked the country and called on authorities to act.
A human rights lawyer, Mr Kingfred Siame said looting and damaging of people’s properties was not the change that Zambians were looking for when they voted PF out of office.
Mr Siame said it was a bad start for UPND to have opponents’ properties damaged and looted.
And Patriots for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo urged President-elect Hakainde Hichilema to stop paying lip service to the lawlessness of his members but act and stop the rot immediately or he risks being a one-term President.
Mr Tembo said the high levels of lawlessness by UPND cadres across the country including the beating up and undressing of a uniformed police officer was a reflection of total failure of leadership.
A videos is circulating on social media showing a uniformed police officer being manhandled by UPND cadres in party regalia.
The video also shows UPND cadres damaging property of perceived political opponents as well as taking over bus stations and markets and looting shopping malls.
And police on Monday night rescued Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia executive director, Moses Lungu after unidentified people raided his home in Munali.
Reverend Lungu, who was in hiding only managed to send a video of the attack to a friend who immediately alerted the police.
Quick police action saved Rev Lungu who says was able to identify some of the attackers.
“This is totally unacceptable,” Mr Tembo said in a statement.
Mr Tembo said the lawlessness was a reflection of total failure of leadership on the part of the UPND and should be a source of concern by all Zambians.
Meanwhile, Mr Hichilema has urged outgoing President, Edgar Lungu to ensure that there was law and order to the fullest in the country.
He said it was still the responsibility of President Lungu to maintain law and order during this period.
Mr Hichilema called for a stop to the violence and looting being witnessed in the country.