Power and Politics

UPND Secretary-General calls for legal action against alleged perpetrators of hate speech


Ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) Secretary-General, Batuke Imenda, has stated that perpetrators of hate speech and lies should face legal consequences.

In a statement issued in Lusaka on Wednesday, Imenda emphasized that certain individuals were deliberately breaking the law, which threatened public order and promotes chaos.

Imenda echoed President Hakainde Hichilema’s sentiments, noting that Zambia had enjoyed peace since independence in 1964, except for the disruptive seven years under the Patriotic Front (PF) and its leader, Edgar Lungu.

He alleged that it was under Lungu that Zambians witnessed violence, leading to loss of lives and maiming of citizens due to political hooliganism perpetuated by the previous regime.

Imenda claimed that since assuming office following an overwhelming electoral victory in August 2021, the UPND government had demonstrated tolerance and inclusiveness.

However, he claimed deliberate and calculated efforts by some opposition members and a few irresponsible civil society individuals to cause anarchy and make the country appear ungovernable.

Imenda alleged that these actions were aimed at discouraging international partners from supporting the UPND government with external debt restructuring relief, knowing that such support would improve lives of Zambians.

He accused certain opposition members, including known members of parliament, of willfully breaking the laws they swore to protect, in an effort to divide the country along ethnic lines and propagate hate speech.

Imenda called on security agencies to protect innocent communities from these political hoodlums and ensure that the law was respected and adhered to by all.

“The conduct of political party leaders should reflect their desire and commitment to improving the living standards of the people who voted for them, instead of agitating for anarchy as we are witnessing today,” he said.

Read More: ‘Govt scheming, plotting to arrest me at night,’ Ex-President Lungu alleges in Facebook post

Imenda cauctioned that UPND party structures had been put on alert to protect the country against divisive tribal elements.

He vowed that the UPND government would not allow hate-fueled statements to harm the public.

“Leaders, regardless of their political or ethnic divide, should take responsibility and assume a duty of consolidating unity in our country,” he advised.

Imenda expressed hope that those arrested in connection with irresponsible utterances would have the opportunity to defend themselves in court, noting that while they may claim political persecution, the law should be blind to one’s ethnicity, age, religion, or political affiliation.

“Perpetrators of hate speech and malicious lies should see their day in court and defend their actions, if they can,” Imenda stated.

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