By GIDEON NYENDWA
CADRES threatening violence against citizens and members of the opposition political parties should know that they are on their own and will face the temerity of the law should they decide to take the law into their own hands, United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has warned.
And former Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Davis Mwila has said Zambia is a democratic country and that the UPND as a governing party should develop a thick skin to criticism and avoid threatening violence against opposition parties.
Mr Mweetwa, who is also Southern Province Minister said the UPND cadres advocating violence should know and understand that the ruling party was cultivating a culture of civil politics and that violence and hooliganism would never be tolerated by the party leadership.
He said the UPND as a governing party believed in the rule of law and that threats made by North-Western Province UPND youth chairperson Bruce Kanema were not the position of the ruling party.
Those youths threatening to beat up opposition political party leaders or any citizen in the name of protecting and defending the President should know that there are laws in this country. The UPND is a civilised political party that respects the rule of law and that is why we all surrendered our sovereignty into the calabash called the Constitution. Should the youth implement their threats, let them know that they will be on their own and will face the temerity of the law,” Mr Mweetwa said.
Mr Mweetwa explained that there were adequate laws that would deal with offences such as insulting the President and that cadres would be committing crimes if they went violent in the name of protecting and defending President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr Kanema has declared that they would embark on physically beating citizens insulting President Hichilema.
“The youths in the UPND have got much potential to beat anyone who would be seen insulting President Hichilema. We are not a church but a political party and we have youths that can beat. You the media tell them (opposition) that we shall start beating them. I can assure you that we can beat the hell out of Sean Tembo,” Mr Kanema said.
But Mr Mweetwa cautioned that the idea of having laws was to ensure that people did not take it upon themselves to perform acts of retribution to perpetrators of criminal activities such as insulting the President.
He said it was not the desire of the UPND government that the country should degenerate in chaos and lawlessness on account that supporters of the ruling party would start beating people perceived to be insulting the Head of State.
Mr Mweetwa said the party would call for a meeting with the aggrieved youths to try and plead with them not to unleash their energies on unreasonable people who were insulting the president.
And Mr Mwila has said the UPND youths threatening violence against opposition political party leaders should be arrested before they implemented their actions.
Mr Mwila said Zambia was a democracy and the ruling party youth should learn to accept criticism and desist from acts that would make the country deviate from its democratic tehnets.
He said the UPND youth leadership had no right to be threatening people whom they felt were insulting or demeaning the Head of State.