Opposition leader Hakaoinde Hichilema has called on President Edgar Lungu to apologise and act on the escalating political tension in the country.
Three UPND supporters, according to Hichilema, were killed by police yesterday. Police have only officially announced that one person died when UPND supporters marched through CDB for a rally that had been cancelled.
BELOW IS HICHILEMA’S STATEMENT
Police fired live bullets at our supporters in Lusaka yesterday afternoon, injuring and fatally wounding our supporters in a tragic incident that will remain a scar on the conscience of our nation for years to come.
That they have been shot for their political opinions reveals the uncomfortable truth we face today that Zambia is no longer a functioning democracy and if we are not careful it will no longer be a functioning state at all.
Our prayers and condolences are with those injured and the families and friends of those who lost their life. We must demand justice. If we do not speak out and if we let ourselves be intimidated further then more of our people will soon suffer the same terrible fate.
We continue to call for peace. Let me be clear, we are fighting for justice through peaceful means not because we lack strength but because we do not want more of our people to suffer at the hands of police officers or PF cadres. If we react in kind then the consequences for our nation would be disastrous.
As we highlighted in our live TV interview yesterday evening, we have written several letters to President Lungu on this subject and have called for meetings with him to resolve these issues. To date we have never had even an acknowledgement, let alone a response, to our calls. We continue to call for a meeting along with other stakeholders.
We met with the Inspector General of the Police yesterday afternoon. We demanded to know why the rally was cancelled so late and on questionable grounds, as if it was a deliberate move to provoke and confuse our supporters. We have also demanded to know why live bullets were being used for crowd control. We are speaking with international media, observers, civil society and many other stakeholders. We will continue to update you.
The sad reality we face is that we have a generation of young people that are hungry, have no jobs and have lost all faith in the state and state institutions. They feel betrayed by the broken promises of the PF Government. The police, rather than protecting them, has become an instrument of attack and intimidation, with no right for self-defence.
We call on President Lungu to quickly condemn the shootings and apologise directly to the families for something that would never have happened under truly democratic and compassionate leadership.
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