Police deny UPND rally permits

By Nation Reporter     

POLICE have denied the United Party for National Development (UPND) permits to conduct their campaigns because they are busy with filing in of nominations through out this week. 

UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka has since charged that the move by the police to deny them a permit to conduct political campaigns was a complete violation of their democratic rights of freedom of expression and of association.

Mr. Katuka explained that the party had applied for permits in Mandevu and Kabwata constituencies to conduct campaigns scheduled for this week, but despite submitting applications within seven days in advance as required, it had since been denied on the grounds that the police were busy with filing in of nominations by political contenders at different elective positions.

He claimed that such attempts by the police to deny them permits during this official campaign period was meant to limit their movements, threatened to discredit the election process and it increasingly looked like part of a calculated strategy to block and frustrate their movements at every turn.

Mr. Katuka said the party had a democratic right to campaign and the people had a democratic right to hear from the candidates and make up their mind.

And Mr. Katuka said it was now too late for the party to file for new permits and develop a new campaign programme.

Mr. Katuka, however, said the move by the police would not deter them from holding their political campaigns, hence the police could do whatever they wanted to, but their voices would still be heard.

But Police Deputy Spokesperson Esther Katongo said the police did not deny the UPND a permit, but they were advised to find an alternative date next week to hold their political rally because this week was not possible due to the ongoing filling in of nominations.

Ms. Katongo said the party was, however, given the reasons among which was due to lack of man power because most of the police officers were deployed and monitoring the nominations process in polling districts.

She said the police acted within what was stipulated in the Public Order Act and political players should adhere to provisions of the law.