Police on the Copperbelt have come under fire from opposition MMD for refusing the former ruling party to hold a public rally at Kitwe’s Mama Monty Basic School at the weekend.
Copperbelt Provincial chairperson Edith Mataka described police action as unreasonable and called on the police to act professionally when carrying out their duties.
She also advised the PF government to concentrate on fulfilling their campaign promises, instead of embracing dictatorial tendencies.
Ms Mataka said she was shocked to find police officers a few hours later guarding the same premises where her party was to hold a rally at the weekend.
“As a party we were disgusted and surprised that after denying us a permit for the premises, police somehow found manpower later to go and guard the same school for reasons best known to themselves,” she said.
Ms Mataka said it was unreasonable for the police to find manpower to guard open spaces but deny the opposition party a permit to hold a rally on the pretext of shortage of police officers to provide security.
According to a letter obtained by the Daily Nation inKitwe and signed by Mindolo Police Station Officer In-charge Gunson Kauseni , the police could not grant the MMD’s request to hold a rally due to operational demands.
In the letter Mr Kauseni explained the police had a huge task of maintaining security in Zamtan compound and advised the former ruling party to defer its meeting to another date which would be mutually favourable to both the MMD and the police.
But, Ms Mataka said the fact that the police could find manpower to go and guard open spaces meant that the police had enough manpower, but were just denying them their right to hold rallies to suppress their views.
“We applied for a permit to hold a rally at Mama Monty basic school, but we were denied because the police gave an excuse that it had no manpower, but we were surprised that the police officers were later sent to guard the same venue where we were supposed to hold a rally.
“The police have adequate man power to police the political rallies, but they have been instructed not to allow the opposition to hold rallies so that their views are suppressed, but this is dangerous. It is not good to suppress people’s views. When we were in the government as MMD, we allowed every body to hold rallies. What is the problem with the PF government,” Ms Mataka asked.
She said the MMD was non-violent, peaceful, objective and focused political party with good calibre leadership which had set the stage for national development during its reign, but warned that it may be forced to react if provoked beyond limits.
“We are a non-violent, peaceful party with quality leaders unlike some leaders we are seeing in the ruling party who are failing to provide direction, but are concentrating on silencing the opposition. Yes, we are a peaceful party, but our maturity and objectivity should not be taken for granted because we are capable of reacting.
“The PF is unsettled because it is just waffling from the time it came into government and so it is fearing that if the opposition are given the permit to hold a rally, they will tear the ruling party apart because it has lamentably failed to provide direction and leadership,” She said.