Power and Politics

Ruling UPND accused by opposition parties of using Police against church, govt denies


The United Kwacha Alliance has urged Zambia Police officers to enforce the law strictly according to the constitution, warning that they could lose their jobs and benefits if the United Party for National Development (UPND) was voted out.

The alliance claimed that the UPND government was using the police force to target the church and clergymen.

Speaking during a press briefing In Lusaka on Saturday, New Heritage Party President, Chishala Kateka, cautioned police officers who were allegedly ‘breaking the law’ to save their jobs, to refrain from the practice before government changed.

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“This onslaught on the church has really mounted, we have seen so many men of the cloth been called by the police,” Kateka said.

She encouraged church leaders, who seemed to be victims of this practice, to remain courageous in the face of it.

“Our message to the men of the cloth is do not fear those that can only harm your body but cannot harm your soul. Do what is right and do not cow before these police officers,” she advised.

Additionally, UKA Chairperson, Sakwiba Sikota, also alleged that the UPND government showed no respect for the church, claiming they would enter the house of the Lord to intimidate people.

“No wonder they do not believe in the day of national prayer, I believe you have not seen President Hakainde at any one of the national days of prayer,” Sikota said.

He added that this lack of respect was why President Hakainde Hichilema decided to remove the Ministry of Religious Affairs before any other ministry in his cabinet when he assumed power.

Following the claims, the alliance decided to brand the country as a ‘Police state’.

This development one’s on the hills of former Head of State, Edgar Lungu, visit to Kabwe, Central Province where the Officer-In-Charge for Kasanda Police Station was alleged to have interrupted a meeting he was having with Bishop Clement Mulenga of Kabwe Dioceses at Stephen Luwisha Secondary School.

In a statement issued in Lusaka on Saturday, Police Deputy Public Relations Officer, Danny Mwale said police officers in Kabwe were not formally notified about the visit of the firmer President in the province so that adequate measures could be put in place for his security.

“Police had reliable information that Lungu and his entourage were scheduled to address members of the public in two separate places within Kabwe District,” Mwale stated.

He said officers from Kasanda Police station went with the view of verifying what the meeting was all about only to discover that Lungu and his entourage were meeting the Bishop.

“They later left the district towards Lusaka and upon reaching Prospect Police security checkpoint, one of the motor vehicles in his convoy, a Ford Ranger bearing a foreign registration number B773 BHA disobeyed Police directives by not stopping at the checkpoint,” he narrated.

He added that the driver, Leonard Ng’andu, aged 29, of Makeni area in Lusaka, was later intercepted at Makombe area and sent back to Prospect Police station where the driver was charged with failure to obey police officers’ directives, exceeding seating capacity and driving an uninsured motor vehicle.

“Police investigations revealed that the Ford Ranger came into Zambia on April 7, 2024 and was supposed to exit the country on May 6, 2024. The motor vehicle has been impounded while the driver has been released after paying admission of guilty fine,” he stated.

Mwale denied claims that there was raid at the Catholic Bishop’s office

“Police in Central province acted proactively to prevent acts intended to disrupt public tranquility and peace in the Central Business District,” he clarified.

He further urged Lungu’s office to always notify the Police for the sake of his security given that he is a public figure who may attract public attention.

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