By ADRIAN MWANZA
OUR colleague Stephen Chikota was brutally beaten while in police custody after he stormed a mine in Mansa on grounds that it was operated illegally by an Indian who was shielded by cabinet ministers and some senior Police officers, UPND Deputy National Youth Chairperson Trevor Mwiinde has said.
But Luapula Province Minister Derrick Chilundika has accused Mr Chikota of having approached the provincial administration to allow him do illegal mining but was denied and started inciting people.
Mr Chilundika said Mr Chikota was a selfish party official who wanted to incite the young people of Luapula for personal gain.
He said that the UPND would not condone lawlessness and that no one would be spared if they broke the law.
“The behavior by Mr Chipoka is an acceptable and the UPND government is calling on all the youths to come forward and approach the authorities so that are given licences,” he said.
Mr Mwiinde in an interview said that Mr Chikota, the Deputy National Youth Chairperson for administration was badly beaten while in police custody and needed hospital attention.
He said his colleague had been released and charged but that he was not in good condition as he was ill treated by the overzealous police officers.
“I just want to urge the ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that they investigate the matter thoroughly because Police brutality is not a good thing and should be condemned,” he said.
However Luapula province Police Commissioner Sharon Cheelo Zulu said Police would not condone lawlessness by cadres regardless of their political affiliation.
Ms Zulu said that she was not aware if Mr Chikota was beaten because the operation was conducted in the middle of the night.
She said the cadres were acting like criminals and that it was uncalled for to challenge the police and even threaten to have them fired.
Ms Zulu said they had released him and taken to Lusaka where he was supposed to answer to other charges which she did not want to delve into.
“Can you imagine that the criminals were even boasting that they will fire the police? Is he the one that employed them, in what capacity is he going to do that because he is just a member of the political party,” she said.
She said that the police were looking at the criminality and not where an individual was coming from.
Ms Zulu said the group was being charged with malicious damage and criminal trespass and that they had been officially charged.