During yesterday’s parliamentary by-election in Livingstone, police arrested two members of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) after they reported a case of electoral malpractice committed by a Patriotic Front official, Obvious Mwaliteta.
Southern Province Police Commissioner Charity Katanga confirmed the arrest of UPND members Cephas Buku, 45, of house number 6564 Olympia Park in Lusaka, and Taphen Mulongo, 45, of house number A 66/6 Shikoswe Kafue.
Katanga claimed that the UPND members were arrested for allegedly abducting a PF official named Dibson Lwishi Limbambala in Dambwa Site and Service of Livingstone.
Addressing journalists at her office yesterday afternoon, Katanga claimed that Limbambala, a PF chairman, sustained a swollen face and pain on the left side of his abdomen after an altercation with the UPND members.
“He explained that he was in the area to monitor the situation and he saw a Toyota Prado registration number ALH 6680 White in color near a place commonly known as God Knows and there were about three to four people who were receiving money from the Prado,” Katanga said.
“He decided to take pictures using his phone. Then another vehicle registration number ALE 3927 which was in the vicinity approached him and without him knowing he was pushed into the vehicle and driven to an unknown destination.”
Katanga said Limbambala was beaten and his phones taken away from him.
“The vehicle was stopped at Zimbabwe market and one of the criminals jumped out of the moving vehicle and he has disappeared so it’s just the two suspects that we have arrested,” she said.
However Katanga’s account of events has been disputed by eyewitnesses, who say that Limbabala’s story was just a pretext to arrest the UPND activists to stop them from blowing the whistle on electoral fraud by the ruling party.
One witness on the scene explained that it was Western Province minister Obvious Mwaliteta and Limbabala who were seen distributing money to voters, and that when the UPND members dragged the culprit to police they ended up being arrested themselves.
“The police are lying, the opposite of what they are saying is true,” said the witness, who declined to be named for this article. “I was there, I saw what happened and so no one should throw this case on the UPND. We were here also when the PF members beat up our members in full view of the police and they did nothing about it.”