WHAT the nation witnessed on Friday at the Lusaka High Court was lawlessness of the worst kind.
UPND cadres set upon Mandevu MP, Christopher Shakafuswa and hiswitnesses in a petition case and in broad day light started beating them oblivious of the fact that this was the last place anyone would think of committing a crime.
The brazen attack occurred in full view of court officials and police officers who did their best to protect the hapless victims under attack.
As cadres kicked and punched Mr Lucas Tompwe, a key witness for PF’s Mandevu Member of Parliament Christopher Shakafuswa, two officers were trying to shield him. However, the attackers could not be deterred and managed to bring him down along with the officer shielding him.
Such was the melee that ensued on the grounds of the High Court that one would have been forgiven for thinking it was a campaign rally.
This despicable behaviour needs to stop and it must end now. These sporadic attacks against PF members should be stopped by UPND senior officials before matters get out of hand.
Mr Shakafuswa’s key witness was beaten with sticks, punches and clicks under the full glare of the law. This is one place that should be respected by everyone.
He narrated that the UPND cadres first attacked PF Mandevu Constituency chairperson, Douglas Tembo before descending on Mr Tompwe.
“I can confirm to you that we were attacked together with my key witnesses at the High Court in full view of Minister of Justice Mulambo Haimbe who came to offer solidarity to UPND Mandevu Constituency losing candidate Aaron Mulope. They pounced on one of my key witnesses who is also our deputy head of media team Mr Lukas Tompwe,” Mr Shakafuswa said.
He said the Police officers were overpowered by the cadres who mercilessly took turns in punching, slapping and kicking his witness.
Mr Shakafuswa however said the officers managed to drag Mr Tompwe into the court building. The officers were also injured and had their uniforms torn.
He said Mr Tompwe was taken to Chipata Level One Hospital to receive medical attention.
“I have actually reported the matter to police because they even stole my phone. But Lukas Tompwe is currently receiving medical attention at Chipata Level One Hospital,” he said.
We hope that the full force of the law will descend on these unruly cadres and get them.
President Hakainde Hichilema has clearly said he does not support violence and warned anyone engaging in such acts that the law would be their enemy.
It appears this message has not got to every cadre and the reason they think they can attack any PF member perceived in a negative way.
This is the lawlessness which the President has spoken about and which police must ensure they do not allow to occur.
We also hope that Inspector General of Police Lemmy Kajoba will be pro-active and ensure that public places are well protected and guarded, more so when there are cases of a political nature.
For instance, it is a known fact that cadres have been escorting their people on the pretext of giving solidarity, when all along they were looking for an opportunity to attack.
And unfortunately this is not the first such incident of violence at the court premises, as PF leaders have complained of similar attacks in the Northern Province where witnesses were also harassed.