HOME Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu has directed police to probe the cause of the clash between suspected Patriotic Front (PF) cadres and their UPND counterparts at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Saturday and arrest the culprits.
There was commotion at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka on Saturday when PF cadres wanted to manhandle UPND's William Banda during the requiem mass of the late Mama Betty Kaunda.
The PF cadres threatened to manhandle Mr Banda after they accused him of being a violent man who should not be present at the funeral.
The church service was later cancelled due to the sudden illness of first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda who was subsequently admitted to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).
Speaking yesterday during a live Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation's (ZNBC) National Watch programme on the topic, Political Violence, Mr Lungu directed police to probe the matter and arrest the culprits.
"I want to assure that police will do their work by investigating this matter within the course of this week and arrest the culprits regardless of political party, I mean whether these cadres belong to PF or UPND, police should arrest the culprits," he said.
He said the police should ensure investigations were accelerated and arrest the perpetrators of the confusion.
During the same programme, Lusaka Division Police chief Solomon Jere warned that police would not tolerate cadres agitating for violence during peaceful and solemn occasions such as funerals.
Dr Jere urged Zambians regardless of their political party affiliations to desist from engaging themselves in violent activities saying police would not spare those wanting to cause anarchy.
He condemned the clash by suspected PF and UPND cadres at the Cathedral adding that it would be improper for police to always cover funerals in full riot gear as it would scare mourners.
The PF cadres waylaid Mr Banda, who was accompanied by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, on their way out of the Cathedral, a situation which forced him to retreat and spend some time in the church together with Mr Hichilema and other UPND officials.
"Can you imagine, if we go to the Cathedral in full riot gear as police we also need to give room for people to mourn freely and not intimidating them. We are investigating this matter," he said.
He advised Zambians to mourn Mama Betty in a peaceful and dignified manner adding that police would deal firmly with individuals who would cause confusion next time or during any similar event in future.
Dr Jere said police would continue to ensure peace by regulating law and order in all parts of the country.
On denial of UPND permits to hold political rallies in Lusaka recently, Dr Jere said he wrote to the opposition party to propose another venue instead of Kanyama Township due to security challenges.