25 February 2013

Zambia: Cadres Clash in Livingstone

OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) and Patriotic Front (PF) cadres on Saturday afternoon clashed in Livingstone as Police reported nine cases of violent conduct.

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema is allegedly reported to have incited his cadres to jeer at PF members after attending a public rally addressed by President Michael Sata.

Mr Hichilema accused the PF of ferrying cadres to attend its rallies and that PF cadres belonged to a 'foolish' party.

The opposition leader dared Policea to arrest him, adding that he was not afraid.

Southern Province police chief, Charity Katanga confirmed that police had recorded nine cases of violent conduct ahead of the February 28, by election.

"So of the nine, eight are assault cases and one is that of malicious damage of a motor vehicle belonging to the UPND," Ms Katanga said.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu has said Police are still trying to establish what transpired on Saturday in Livingstone.

Mr Lungu said in Livingstone yesterday that the UPND held a public rally in Maramba and the PF held its own in Dambwa.

He said after the rally addressed by President Sata finished, the head of State left Livingstone and that was when the violence started.

"I am glad that the meeting we have had with my colleagues has gone very well and we both regret the incident that happened yesterday (Saturday) and the police will get to the bottom of it," he said.

The minister said the campaigns would go on and that officers would do their best to police the events until the official campaign period was over.

UPND Livingstone by-election campaign manager Gary Nkombo said that his party would remain committed to a violent free election.

"We don't only regret the violence that occurred but we also condemn it and we don't want to wish for a repeat of what happened yesterday," he said.

Political parties yesterday released a communiqué in which they committed themselves to violent free campaigns.

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