But HH says UPND members will defend themselves against PF violence

By Staff Reporter

Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has asked Zambians to reject calls for “Panga for panga”.

But UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has reiterated that his party members will defend themselves against PF violence because it is a human and legal right provided for in the country’s bill of rights.

Addressing parishioners at Kalingalinga Catholic Church last Sunday, Mwamba also known as GBM, said it was not in the interest of the country and Zambians for any politician to resort to violence in order to settle political differences.

GBM said there was no need for politicians to incite Zambians to resort to violence because the country risk degenerating into civil strife, a situation he said would affect all Zambians regardless of their political affiliation.

“We are all one in the face of our Lord, our Creator. There is no need for panga for panga when we are one people. It is us the politicians that are perpetuating violence…panga for panga, tribalism and divisions among our people for our selfish motives,” said GBM.

He asked the Church to pray for the local politicians and take a leading role in addressing the divisions and tribalism in the country.

“It is easy for me to marry a Tonga…a Tumbuka…a Chewa…but why is it a problem when it come to politics?” asked GBM, adding.”We politicians are to blame for the divisions and tribalism in our country. Let our Clergy pray for us and guide the country into living in harmony without panga for panga.”

GBM also asked Zambians to revisit the spirit of “One Zambia One Nation” which was promoted by the country’s founding president Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda.

“Let us emulate the spirit of Dr. Kaunda…He managed to unite all the 73 tribes under the One Zambia One Nation motto for the common good of the country,” said GBM. “Let us emulate Dr. Kaunda’s legacy of promoting peace and unity among Zambians.”

But reacting to President Edgar Lungu’s statement that he was disappointed that while the PF had persistently called for peace during elections, the UPND leadership was inciting its supporters to retaliate when provoked, Hichilema said his party had embarked on the concept of self-defense knowing that it was the PF who were the breeders of violence.

“In Choma at the funeral of Munkombwe, I stood up to go and greet him to demonstrate that for us, this is what normal, decent human being must do. He goes to Ndola; he turns like a different animal, totally different animal like he has a split personality. Something is bothering Mr Lungu but he shouldn’t bring that to the country and let the whole country suffer. It is a human right, it’s a legal right and it’s in the bill of rights in our country for citizens to defend themselves and we are not moving from there; you come to kill us, you come to brutalise us, we will defend ourselves,” said  Hichilema. “Anywhere in the world, even a young child when you keep brutalising it, you keep on whipping the child even when they have done nothing wrong, young as they may be, they will pick whatever they have, even a spoon, to hit you; that’s the concept of self-defence. You cannot sit and be slaughtered. Mr Lungu, do not issue threats, do not use the state wrongly, and use state instruments to protect everybody.”

He said the PF had been using violence as a tool to oppress citizens and deny them their fundamental liberties and freedoms.

“Whilst in Ndola, he [President Lungu] issued a lot of threats, substantial threats on citizens, including someone he called ‘that one’; I do interpret correctly who he called ‘that one’; it’s actually myself. I am aware he also called ‘that one’, ‘foolish one’, he meant myself. I guess it was the reflection of how he feels about citizens in this country. He instructed Kampyongo, his brutal Kampyongo, and the Inspector General of Police to arrest ‘that one’ and others,” Hichilema said. “The PF and Mr Lungu are the breeders of violence in this country, it’s common knowledge that these are the ones that have bred violence in this country. They have used violence as a tool to oppress citizens; they have used violence as a tool to deny citizens their fundamental human rights, liberties and freedoms, absolutely very clear, we know it, we understand it and we have seen it. It is written on the walls everywhere that PF has taken the tool of violence to frighten off citizens, including to orchestrate the breakdown in rule of law; every well meaning Zambian knows that. There is enough evidential information to it, we in the UPND and a number of opposition parties are victims of Mr Lungu’s dictatorship, Mr Lungu’s oppression. True to what dictators do and the tools they use, they would like to make victims look like aggressors; that’s the disposition he carried in Ndola…to make us victims appear like we are the aggressors. And that we must now be arrested, brutalised using the instruments which belong to the people of Zambia.”

Hichilema called for immediate commencement of dialogue as citizens were bleeding.

 “I urge and thank the church to get on with it, let’s stop the debate of ZCID this and that, let’s get on with the dialogue. I am sure and confident that the church that have done it before will help the suffering Zambians by bringing law and order, respect for human rights and dealing with violence properly. We want to encourage the church to get on with the job…we agreed that it’s the church, I guess Mr Lungu agrees that it’s the church. Let’s get on with the dialogue, citizens are bleeding too much,” said Hichilema.

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