By Bright Chikele:
The Zambia Police Service deeply regrets the loss of life that occurred today the 8th July, 2016, during unlawful procession by the United Party for National Development (UPND) Cadres.
The public may wish to know that the United Party for National Development had notified the Police through our Lusaka Division office of their intended public rally to be held on 8th July, 2016 in Chawama. However, due to security concerns the conveners were called and advised that they should not proceed with the rally.
They were further advised to consider an alternative date for their rally. Regardless of this, the UPND decided to ignore the advice, instead they opted to mobilize themselves and carried out an unlawful procession starting from their Secretariat Offices along Provident Road in Rhodespark through Church Road into Cairo Road then Kafue Road up to Kamwala Shopping area. During this process, public order and peace was disturbed by way of harassing motorists and members of the public.
Five (5) female Traffic Police Officers who were controlling traffic at Freedom Statue were also attacked by the same UPND Cadres who attempted to grab a Police radio and in the process injured them. One mobile phone and five Police head dresses were grabbed from the Police Officers. More Police Officers rushed to the scene and ordered them to disperse but instead the Cadres attacked the Police Officers.
The Officers fired tear gas to disperse the unruly Cadres, but they continued attacking the Police using different types of missiles. The situation became very volatile and Police started firing rubber bullets at the mob to contain the situation. The Cadres still continued advancing aggressively and in the process, two (2) persons were injured, a male and a female, who were both picked by the Police and rushed to the University Teaching Hospital where upon arrival the female was pronounced dead, whilst the male person has since been admitted.
It is also important to note that some Cadres that committed various offences had rushed to their Secretariat to seek refuge where Police managed to apprehend them. So far twenty two (22) Cadres have been charged and arrested for Unlawful Procession and Riotous behaviour and are currently detained in custody and will appear in Court soon. Meanwhile, an Inquiry File in the shooting incident has since been opened.
The injured Officers were taken to the hospital where they were treated and later discharged.
Whilst police regret what transpired this afternoon, Police wants to take this opportunity to again sound a strong warning to all Political Cadres that political violence will not be condoned regardless of their political affiliation.
We still appeal to Political leaders to advise their members to exercise restraint to political violence. Police are determined at all costs to ensure that peace, law and order prevails throughout the nation and we will employ all legal means before, during and after the elections.
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE