|Police officers trying to restrain MMD
cadres during the nominations at Chilanga Basic School yesterday
leader Hakainde Hichilema was yesterday forced to escape into a classroom full
of pupils at Chilanga Basic School when a group of marauding MMD cadres broke a
police cordon in an attempt to beat him up.
Police had to fire a gunshot
and several teargas canisters to disperse the unruly cadres.
the school had to be prematurely released from classes following the confusion
and the fact that the whole area was covered in teargas. This was during the
filing of nomination papers ahead of the October 30, 2010 Chilanga by-election,
which took place at the school.
The confusion erupted around 15.00 hours
after the MMD candidate in the by-election, Lusaka lawyer Keith Mukata, had just
finished filing his nomination papers before the returning officer Alfred
Hichilema arrived with his delegation, comprising members of
parliament and party officials a few minutes later and proceeded to a section of
the school to await the announcement of the successful
However, one UPND official had a problem over parking space
with some MMD cadres that had converged on Kafue Road and when Hichilema and his
officials went to inquire as to what was going on, the MMD cadres started to
advance towards them.
But police officers quickly moved in between the
UPND was outnumbered by those from the MMD. The MMD cadres
asked Hichilema what he was doing there when it was just a nomination for a
Mazabuka UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo
attempted to reason with the MMD cadres. This appeared to incense Lusaka
District MMD information and publicity secretary Marriot Ngoma who advanced
towards Nkombo with a view of punching him.
Nkombo also went for Ngoma
but was restrained by some UPND officials. Ngoma, on the other hand, attempted
to pass through a group of police officers in a bid to manhandle an already
In the confusion, Hichilema was heard saying that the
behaviour of the police was foolish.
“That is foolishness, you are
looking at people fighting and you are doing nothing,” Hichilema said
Nkombo also asked the police officers if the MMD cadres were too
powerful to be dealt with.
On the other hand, the MMD intensified their
chanting and shouts whilst trying to get to Hichilema. As they were doing this,
some were hurling insults at Hichilema and company.
through the hedge towards the school grounds and the MMD cadres angrily uprooted
part of the hedge and started throwing the shrubbery at the police
Within a few minutes, the MMD cadres had broken the police
cordon and followed Hichilema who was by now walking along the corridor of the
classroom block opposite the one where the nomination was taking
The cadres again went for Hichilema and pushed him against the
wall but his security personnel surrounded him. In the midst of the confusion,
police officers forced Hichilema into a classroom full of pupils.
cadres added up their numbers and attempted to push the police officers away
from the door of the classroom but the police officers stayed put. Some MMD
cadres started throwing stones on the roof of the classroom and one of the
stones broke the asbestos roof.
Police fired the first teargas canister
at exactly 15.31 hours, sending the MMD cadres, media personnel and pupils
scampering all over the place.
“Come on, let’s chase them!” one
plain-clothed police officer was heard telling his colleagues as they pursued
the MMD cadres.
The teargas canister was followed by a gunshot in the air
and the electoral officers inside the nomination centre could be seen holding
their noses and rubbing their eyes due to the teargas.
Some teachers were
heard asking each other if the Provincial Education Officer (PEO) should be
called to intervene on what should be done with the pupils who were still inside
the classroom in light of the confusion.
The MMD cadres retreated to
Kafue Road where police later fired more teargas canisters to disperse
When he came out from the classroom, Hichilema blamed the violence
on Lusaka Province MMD acting chairman William Banda, who is the deputy campaign
manager in the by-election.
“But what do you expect when you put William Banda as campaign manager?” asked Hichilema, who had
to leave the nomination centre before the announcement of the successful
But William Banda said it was shameful for Hichilema to attend a
nomination for a parliamentary by-election when he was a person eyeing State
At the close of the nomination, Chipoma announced that Valerie
Mukeleni of the National Restoration Party (NAREP), Capt Cosmas Moono of the
UPND, MMD’s Keith Mukata and UNIP’s Henry Silumesii had successfully filed their
Chipoma asked the police officers to be the last to
leave the nomination centre.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Patriotic Front (PF)
supporters and sympathisers yesterday brandished red cards against President
Rupiah Banda and the MMD when they escorted their candidate, Freedom Sikazwe,
for nominations at Mpulungu Civic Centre.
And MMD candidate Given
Mung’omba said he stands at a disadvantage because he is a Seventh Day Adventist
since the parliamentary by-election will be held on Saturday, October 30,
The PF procession started from Muzabwela grounds, about a kilometre
from the Civic Centre, with the cadres brandishing red cards as they walked
alongside a huge PF convoy, which was under the leadership of vice-president Dr
Guy Scott and several other party leaders.
One of the women in the
procession said that the residents had resorted to red cards because they were
tired of the suffering brought about on account of MMD’s failed promises in the
The cadres wanted to escort Sikazwe up to the Civic Centre but
police ordered them to remain about 400 metres from the nomination
The cadres found police insistence irritating and managed to
break through some police barriers until their leaders prevailed over them to
follow orders from the police.
PF candidate Sikazwe was the first to file
his nomination before 10:00 hours and declared thereafter that PF should
concentrate most of their campaigns in the rural parts of Mpulungu.
the time came for the MMD to file their nomination around 12:30 hours, the
popularity battles between MMD and PF emerged around the town centre
MMD cadres who were on their way accompanying their candidate to
file in his nomination sang solidarity songs.
PF cadres responded by
raising their party symbol and their president Michael Sata’s campaign
And Mung’omba has appealed to the Electoral Commission of Zambia
to change the election date because having elections on Saturday would
disadvantage him. He said Mpulungu had a large number of Seventh Day
“In fact, I’m also a Seventh Day Adventist. At the individual
level as a candidate I’m already disadvantaged. So, perhaps this is a very
strong appeal that we are making to the authorities that they may
Yes I’ll be disadvantaged,” Mung’omba said. “When you say
disadvantaged, it is to say that people may not be 100 per cent turnout and
these are the issues of belief; there are no shortcuts. Some people may go
against the Ten Commandments, maybe those may be few. Those who may say, ‘we
will die with Jesus’ are the ones who may disadvantage me.”
Asked if he
would vote, Mung’omba responded: “It is my belief, I won’t comment now, but I
will be disadvantaged.”
However, Mung’omba expressed confidence that MMD
would win the election in Mpulungu.
By press time, those who had managed
to file in their nominations included Sikazwe, Mung’omba and NAREP’s Muchinzi
Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) candidate Chilowela
Sinyangwe was sent away to re-organise himself because some of his supporters
did not appear in the 2005 voters register which will be used in the
UNIP had not yet filed in their nomination.