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NO ANTAGONISM

THAT there appears to be a thaw in the frosty relations between the ruling United Party for National Development and the Patriotic Front is encouraging.

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It could be a harbinger of the much-anticipated peaceful co-existence that Zambians yearn for between the country’s two largest political parties.

The reported meeting this week between the PF officials and the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Mr Jack Mwiimbu over the former’s application to hold a mass rally in Lusaka is thus encouraging.

The PF was prompted to request for a meeting with the minister after the Inspector General of Police, Mr Graphael Musamba refused to allow them hold a mobilisation mass rally slated for tomorrow.

The police chief cited security reasons for his refusal not to sanction the planned mass rally.

Obviously, not happy with the response they got from the police, the PF sought to write to the minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security and appeal. Mr Mwiimbu then overturned the decision by the Police Inspector General to reject the notification by the PF to hold its mass public rally and has allowed them to proceed.

Mr Mwiimbu, responding to a letter of appeal written by the rally’s organising chairperson, Mr Christopher Shakafuswa dated August 17, 2023, stated that he had considered the appeal and guided that the rally organisers should file a fresh notification of intention to hold the public rally. 

He also proposed alternative dates so as to allow the Zambia Police Service to indicate a favourable date for purposes of providing security.

Here in lies the bone of contention which we feel should be resolved with cool heads from either side – Government and PF.

Mr Mwiimbu, while over ruling his police chief has asked the PF to reschedule its rally which we feel is a win-win situation for all the parties involved.

We do sympathise with the PF member of the central committee, Mr Raphael Nakacinda, who had earlier led a delegation to meet Mr Mwiimbu saying they gave adequate notice to the authorities and would be pleased to hold the rally this week.

Mr Nakacinda, who is PF information and publicity chairperson said the former ruling party met Mr. Mwiimbu and informed him that the stopping of the mass rally by the police was irregular and illegal.

Mr Nakacinda said their writing to the minister was because it was provided for in the law and was of the hope that he would be able to align the police conduct and responses according to the law.

“The law only provide that the police have to be notified and not to get permission from them, a precedence was already set in the case of Mulundika,” Mr Nakacinda said.

We do not think there should be any antagonism between the ruling UPND and the PF.

We implore the two sides to keep the channels of communication open which is what Zambians want, rather than resort to acts that might only lead to violence.

As the PF’s deputy chairperson for information and publicity Mr Emmanuel Mwamba said, Mr Mwiimbu had been decent enough to have accorded the former ruling party audience over the matter, thus the more reason they should also replicate and ensure that they come to a common understanding that will help build and strengthen the country’s democracy.

Antagonism should not be the norm.

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