…as Given Lubinda, the PF vice-president announces the mass political gathering for the former ruling party in Matero’s Zingalume area is on today
By NATION REPORTER
A SHOWDOWN between the Patriotic Front (PF) and the Zambia Police is looming in Matero’s Zingalume area where the former ruling party is expected to hold its mass political gathering which the Inspector General of Police Graphael Musamba is claiming has been cancelled.
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The PF says it has met all the legal requirements to hold its mass rally but the Zambia Police has warned the former ruling party against proceeding with their political gathering citing security reasons.
After having been cleared by Jack Mwiimbu, the Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister, the PF proceeded to announce the rally in Zingalume but Mr Musamba quickly moved to overturn the decision of his minister and cancelled the gathering.
But yesterday, Mr Lubinda told the Daily Nation that the rally would go ahead as scheduled and that no amount of threats and illegalities by the Zambia Police would stop the former ruling party from holding its ever public rally since the 2021 general elections.
Mr Lubinda has accused Mr Musamba of attempting to frustrate the former ruling party of holding its mass rally despite Home Affairs minister Mwiimbu having ordered that the political gathering should go ahead.
“We are going ahead with the party with the rally, come rain come thunder we are going to have the rally today, police just organize officers to come and provide us with security. We will help the police to follow the law” Mr Lubinda said.
Mr Lubinda said the party would not allow Mr Musamba to set a bad precedence by unlawfully blocking a public gathering.
Mr Lubinda said if the PF succumbed to the ploys of Mr Musamba, the police would be using the PF blocking as a reference to disadvantage other opposition political parties from gathering.
He said PF has a party followed the law by notifying the police in good time by giving them 14 days in which to respond and their response has always been negative which later led to the meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security who showed no objection to the holding of the rally.
But Rae Hamoonga, the Zambia Police spokesperson announced on Thursday that the gathering would not go ahead despite Mr Mwiimbu having allowed them to proceed.
And Zambian historian and academician Sishuwa Sishuwa has said the police have violated the rights to peaceful assembly and free speech by refusing to allow the main opposition Patriotic Front to hold a public rally in Lusaka which was slated for today.
Dr. Sishuwa has condemned the clampdown on civil liberties which have continued under the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND government.
He said the excuse was unspecified “security concerns,” had former Edgar Lungu banned a political rally for such vague reasons, Western diplomats and civil society would have been outraged but today, all groups were silent.
Dr. Sishuwa a lecturer at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University posted this on his Tweeter handle reacting to the cancellation of the PF’s mass rally the Zambia Police yesterday a day after Mr Mwiimbu ordered that the mass political gathering should go ahead.