By OLIVER SAMBOKO
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has been challenged to show leadership by publicly rebuking William Banda for proposing violence against PF members during the Kabwata by-election.
Mr Banda, who is UPND chairman for special duties, and well known for engineering and participating in political violence from the UNIP and MMD days, last week threatened to crush the Patriotic Front in the Kabwata by-election.
PF Deputy Media director Edwin Lifwekelo, said President Hichilema has the responsibility to protect all citizens regardless of political affiliation or belief.
He explained that when President Hichilema addressed the nation at his private residence in Lusaka to toast his victory after the August 12, 2021 presidential election, he promised that his administration would run the affairs of the nation strictly under the rule of law.
“Mr Hichilema repeated the promise at his inauguration in Lusaka. But in the last four months, Zambians have not seen any serious commitment to the protection of the rule of law,” he said.
He said violent cadres like William Banda should be tamed and also urged Mr Hichilema, as President for all Zambians, to publicly rebuke him to stop inciting UPND cadres to attack PF members.
Mr Lifwekelo said the manner in which the campaigns for the Kabwata by-election will be handled will serve as a serious test to President Hichilema’s commitment to the maintenance of the rule of law and protection of human rights of all citizens.
He said many PF members are still in hiding after their homes were attacked by the marauding cadres, but that there has been no serious effort to curb this violence except feeble assurances and veiled justifications from senior party officials.
Mr Lifwekelo also accused the Zambia Police of treating the perpetrators of the violence with kids’ gloves because they want to impress the UPND.
He said the Police are ignoring cases of violence reported to them by PF members, adding that in many instances the suspects are well known but they are roaming freely, going round victimising members and supporters of the PF.