The Socialist Party (SP) of Zambia is once again the target of persecution by the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND). On June 15, SP President and journalist Dr. Fred M’membe issued an alert that the party had been informed that the police, “in collaboration with UPND cadres drafted into the State House security,” intended to kidnap him. On June 16, M’membe stated that a warrant of arrest had been issued against him. However, he emphasized that no prior police callout had been issued.
This recent episode comes just months after members of the SP were brutally attacked by UPND cadres during election campaigning in the Muchinda ward in April. While none of the attackers were apprehended at the time, the police in turn arrested and charged M’membe with “[u]nlawful discharge of a Firearm” and “Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm.”
M’membe further accused President Hakainde Hichilema, together with the Deputy Inspector General of Police of the State House Fanwell Siandenge, of handling issues of law enforcement in “Gestapo style.”
Under normal procedure, a callout notice gives an individual an opportunity to go to a police station to respond to the allegations made against the person, Akende Chundama, the spokesperson of the SP chairperson told Peoples Dispatch. An arrest warrant is issued when the individual ignores the notice.
“What they want is to use this warrant to abduct me,” M’membe warned in a post.