ABZ candidate faces arrest

State operatives on Monday attempted to arrest Alliance for a Better Zambia (ABZ) Katuba Parliamentary by-election candidate Patricia Mwashingwele for undisclosed reasons and Father Frank Bwalya has described the act by the State as a scheme to harass and intimidate his candidate because she has reportedly been tipped the favourite in the race.

State police have since summoned Mwashingwele to appear before the police at Lusaka’s Central Police today just six days before the Katuba by-elections are to be held.

When contacted for a comment, ABZ president Fr Bwalya said it was not surprising that the police and State operatives had targeted Mwashingwele because the ruling party had started panicking after realizing that the prospects of losing yet again to the opposition were high.

Fr Bwalya said three State agents trailed a group of the ABZ campaign team suspecting that Mwashingwele was among them so that they could pounce on her and effect an immediate arrest.

He said the officers trailed the group right up to the residence of Mwashingwele in Katuba and that upon realizing that she was not among them, the officers decided to drop a call out with instructions that the ABZ candidate should abandon her campaign programme and report herself to Central Police in Lusaka.

Fr Bwalya said Mwashingwele who is ABZ vice-president was being trailed by the three State operatives in a tinted Nissan Almera registration number ALJ1697 adding that the summoning of his candidate was meant to derail ABZ from its normal schedule of campaigns.

He said the Patriotic Front (PF) had become jittery and had resorted to harassment and intimidation with the hope that the voters would be coerced into voting for the ruling party candidate who has been rejected by the traditional leadership and the party itself.

Fr Bwalya stated that the PF campaign team was being booed by the residents in Katuba especially after President Michael Sata had branded most of the Members of Parliament in his party useless.

He said the people in Katuba were allegedly telling the PF campaign team that President Sata had declared them useless and that they would not waste their vote on people who were not useful.

“Three State operatives yesterday attempted to arrest Patricia Mwashingwele for some unknown reason and after failing, they have diced to summon her to Central police on Wednesday at 09:00 hours. We know that this is meant to harass and intimidate our candidate and frustrate her campaigns. The PF is jittery about the prospective of losing the Katuba seat to another opposition political party and they have resorted to undemocratic tactics. As far as we are concerned, our party is doing well and are determined to register our presence on the Zambian political arena by winning the Katuba seat,” Fr Bwalya said.

And addressing a rally in Kamayila on Monday, Fr Bwalya said the PF had caused a lot of suffering among the Zambians by their failure to fulfill any of their promises they made during their campaigns. Fr Bwalya said the PF and President Sata had failed Zambians politically economically and socially and that Zambians must begin rejecting them by voting for the opposition in all the by-elections that had been induced by the ruling party.