Police in Kitwe have arrested and detained PF Copperbelt chairman Stephen Kainga and five others for alleged involvement in attacks on UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema on Wednesday.
Also detained are PF Copperbelt vice-youth chairman, Stanley Chandindi, a Kitwe businessman popularly known as Chile 1 and three PF members.
Armed PF thugs on Wednesday evening surrounded Radio Icengelo in Kitwe and prevented the UPND leader from speaking on a scheduled live programme.
Earlier in the day, PF cadres armed with firearms, pangas and axes disrupted a UPND meeting that was being addressed by Hichilema at the party’s Copperbelt office in Kitwe.
Copperbelt police commissioner Joyce Kasosa confirmed the arrests yesterday.
“Yes, we have arrested some people in connection with the Wednesday attacks on Mr Hichilema. We initially arrested nine people but some have been released, I am not sure how many are in custody. Two are charged with obstructing police officers while one, by the name of Chileshe, is charged with being in possession of a firearm,” said Kasosa. “As per procedure, they are remanded in custody. If the police finish the paperwork, then they will appear in court on Monday. We don’t release people that have been charged until after court process. We have a Mr (Stephen) Kainga, a Mr Chandindi, and a Chileshe; these are the ones I can remember.”
And police sources said Kainga and Chandindi were arrested and detained for failing to stop the cadres.
“The five are in police custody to help us with investigations on the attacks on opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema on Wednesday evening. We have arrested the PF provincial chairman (Kainga) and his vice-youth chairman so that they can identify the PF cadres. You see, the opposition leader had a police permit for his meetings here in Kitwe, so we can’t allow lawlessness just because they are PF,” the police sources said. “We feel it’s too much of lawlessness from these PF cadres and now we are ready to cage them. We will not be intimidated by anyone. Ours is to maintain law and order in this country.”
And addressing journalists in Kitwe yesterday, Kitwe district commissioner, Chanda Kabwe expressed regret over the attacks on Hichilema, adding that democracy allowed political parties to freely move and engage people.
“What happened is regrettable. There is nothing like this is a no-go area for the opposition or the ruling party. As government, we look at the issues affecting the people regardless of their political affiliation. We should learn and begin to coexist and that’s what democracy entails,” said Kabwe.