By: Bright Chikele….
THE UPND says the five cadres arrested by police for allegedly tearing down campaign posters of President Edgar Lungu were actually arrested while putting their party’s campaign materials when they were attacked by ruling party cadres.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma charged yesterday that police had manipulated information on what led to the arrest of the cadres on Monday by alleging that they were tearing down Patriotic Front billboards.
Mr. Kakoma described the reason for their arrest as baseless and accused the police of manipulating the truth.
He said contrary to assertions by police that those arrested were found removing PF billboards and replacing them with UPND campaign posters and that they attacked the PF cadres who confronted them, the UPND cadres were merely putting party billboards without tampering with any of the PF’s campaign material.
Mr Kakoma claimed the PF cadres were the ones who attacked their counterparts when they found them putting up their campaign material and that the UPND only defended themselves from their assailants after being confronted, saying there was no truth in what the police had relayed to the media as the premise on which the cadres were arrested.
He said it was unfortunate that the police were treating the victims as the guilty party when it was clear that the PF cadres were the ones who instigated the clash by attempting to prevent his party members from putting the billboards and attacking them in the process.
“The police are simply manipulating the truth over what happened because the report they gave with regard to what happened is not true; it is a total manipulation of the facts. What happened is that our members were putting our billboards along Cairo Road and when the PF cadres saw them, they wanted to stop them and that is how the fight ensued.
“At no time did our members remove the PF billboards; that is a lie and a total manipulation of the facts. It is the PF cadres who attacked our members and not the way the issue was reported by the police. Unfortunately, the police decided to twist the truth and arrested our members leaving out the culprits and up to now, they are still in the cells at central police,” Mr. Kakoma said.
He maintained that the UPND cadres were innocent and that they did not deserve to be arrested because they did nothing wrong.
On Monday, police deputy spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said UPND cadres Lawrence Banda, Soft Bwalya, Benjamin Mavuli, Simonda Simonda, and Jaid Hamize were arrested after they were found removing PF posters and replacing them with theirs along Cairo road.