PRISCILLA MWILA, NKOLE MULAMBIA, Lusaka, Ndola
POLICE have arrested five United Party for National Development (UPND) Western Province officials for alleged unlawful assembly.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo said in a statement yesterday that the five intended to hold a press briefing demanding the release of their incarcerated leader, Hakainde Hichilema.
Ms Katongo identified the suspects as Jeremiah Lihongo, 37, who is the youth chairperson, David Changamali, 49, secretary in charge of administration, and Moto Moto, 67, the vice-chairperson.
Others are Mbinji Bishwashua, 68, provincial secretary for politics, and Mukubesa Ellis, 66, who is provincial coordinator.
Ms Katongo said the UPND officials are detained in police custody.
“The five UPND officials have been arrested for unlawful assembly and are currently in police custody. They intended to have a press briefing at their offices, where, according to a press statement found with them, they wanted to demand for the release of their leader, Mr Hakainde Hichilema,” she said.
Ms Katongo said the officials were arrested for holding a press briefing without obtaining permission from the police.
She said police have on several occasions warned members of the public against commenting on matters that are before the courts of law.
And police in Ndola yesterday curtailed an illegal demonstration by UPND members demanding the release of their incarcerated leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Copperbelt commissioner of police Charity Katanga said in an interview yesterday that she deployed police officers in the central business district and surrounding areas to monitor the situation.
“Police officers are monitoring around Ndola. At the moment, I am not in a position to tell whether they have demonstrated or not,” she said.
A check by the Zambia Daily Mail revealed the presence of two police vehicles with police officers in riot gear at the UPND party secretariat.
The police were also monitoring the situation around the town centre and turning away party cadres in UPND party regalia.
And UPND Ndola district chairperson Joseph Phiri told the media at a press briefing that the party will continue with demonstrations.
Mr Phiri said the party will consider holding a protest without informing police.
This week, Ms Katanga confirmed receiving various applications for the planned activities.
She, however, urged them not to go ahead as the case of the party leader is active before court.