In a sign of increasing pressure on non-governmental organisations by the ruling Patriotic Front government, police in Mazabuka have attempted to disrupt a meeting by Action Aid Zambia where they were discussing the investigations into Zambia Sugar tax avoidance allegations.
The armed officers who pounced at the venue where the meeting was taking place claimed that the gathering was conducted without proper police authority.
Earlier this month, the international NGO published a scathing report highlighting more than $27 million dollars of tax avoidance by Zambia Sugar, which is owned by Associated British Foods.
However, Action Aid Zambia executive director Pamela Chisanga stood her ground in the presence of senior chief Mwanachingwala of Southern Province and challenged the officers to go ahead and disrupt the meeting.
Chisanga also refused to accompany the officers for interrogation at the police station arguing that she did not need their permission to hold a discussion.
“I would not want to endanger the life of anybody and what we are doing here is not meant to endanger any person. There is another group which is there and if this place is deemed unsafe, then those people should also go,” Chisanga said.
Senior chief Mwanachingwala was angered by the police action and suspected that they were merely trying to harass innocent citizens that had not committed any offence.
“I am suspicious now with people that we are dealing with. Where did you get a complaint about our meeting?” chief Mwanachingwala asked he officers.
The organizers of the meeting defied the police threats and went ahead to hold the meeting.