The Police high comand in Lusaka have revoked ‘the notification’ by United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema to hold public meetings in Eastern Province.
But Hichilema has defied the police order not to go ahead with his planned activities in Eastern Province declaring that he had been pushed to the limit and was not going to be intimidated by President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front (PF) government.
And Syakalima has charged that the police were breaking the law by refusing to respect notifications to hold public meetings because there was no law that required political parties to obtain permits from the police as they were only supposed to be notified.
Meanwhile police in Mumbwa yesterday attempted to disrupt an indoor meeting by Alliance for a Better Zambia (ABZ) president Frank Bwalya but the opposition party also defied the police and went ahead with their programme at a private residence after altercations with the officers.
Eastern Province police Commissioner Grace Chipalila on March 12, 2014 allowed Hichilema to tour the Province and hold meetings with his supporters but on Saturday, the Commissioner telephoned the UPND leader informing him that she had been instructed by deputy Inspector of Police Solomon Jere to revoke the notification.
Hichilema said as a citizen, he had constitutional rights to visit and meet any citizen in the country and that what the PF was doing was grand violation of human rights that must be condemned by all civilized Zambians.
Hichilema said he had decided to defy police because he had for a long time tolerated President Sata and his dictatorial traits and that time had come for him to disobey his orders.
The UPND leader currently in Chipata was scheduled to tour Mambwe, Vubwi, Katete, Petauke and Chipata districts as well as Msoro, a programme that would have lasted a week.
According to a letter of notification to Chipalila dated March 9th, 2014, signed by UPND Eastern Province provincial chairman Paul Thole, the police commissioner said Hichilema could go ahead with his meetings as specified in his schedule.
Hichilema said the police had called him to cancel his meetings but that he had decided to proceed with his programme declaring that he was ready to face the police who have already summoned him over the matter.
“I have decided to defy the police and I am in Chipata where I have been warmly welcomed. I am just coming from a church service and I am having a wonderful time with the people who are disappointed that President Sata cheated them and they want nothing but immediate change. I have tolerated the PF for a long time and I have been pushed to the limit and no one is going to stop me from meting fellow citizens. No dictator will take away my rights and I will go ahead with my planned meetings,” Hichilema said.
And Hichilema’s special advisor Douglas Syakalima said Zambia was under a silent state of emergency because President Sata and the PF leadership had been inebriated with fear, having lost popularity and the trust of Zambians.
Syakalima said since its ascendance to power the PF had been stifling people’s emotions by denying them the freedom to publicly express themselves warning that the ruling party had taken a dangerous trajectory because sooner rather than later, emotions would explode that would cause the country to be ungovernable. Addressing the media at the UPND secretariat yesterday, Syakalima said his party had decided to stop notifying the police about their meetings because it was clear that the Public Order Act was being abused by the PF.
Syakalima said in the past two years, the UPND had written 42 letters of notification for public meetings and that the police had only allowed two meetings which were also disrupted by PF thugs.
“Even after following the provisions of the Public Order Act and meeting all the requirements, the police through Solomon Jere decided to cancel the programme of Hichilema in Eastern Province. The regional command through Grace Chipalila had allowed Hichilema to go ahead with his planned meeting because we met all the requirements.
But the police in Chipata called Hichilema telling him that his notification had been revoked. This calls for civil disobedience. When you bottle people’s emotion for