Copperbelt commissioner of police Charity Katanga has cautioned Bahati Member of Parliament Harry Kalaba against holding public meetings without the consent of the police. Mr Kalaba is former Minister of Foreign Affairs who has become a critic of Government.
He is championing what he is calling “the Kalaba movement”.
He was warned and cautioned by police for holding meetings without notifying them. As Mr Kalaba was being questioned, his sympathisers, a horde of youths, who escorted him, became unruly. Police dispersed the rowdy crowd and arrested two people who have been charged with conduct likely to cause breach of the peace. Police clad in riot gear also demanded that journalists leave police premises and wait where the police cordon was.
Mr Kalaba was questioned for two hours.
Mrs Katanga said Mr Kalaba has been holding several meetings on the Copperbelt without notifying the police as required by the Public Order Act.
“Mr Kalaba has been holding indoor and public meetings with impunity. So as police, we called him to warn and caution him,” Mrs Katanga said. Mr Kalaba was accompanied by his lawyers.
Mrs Katanga said police have information of the residential addresses, locations and times he held meetings in Chingola, Kitwe, Mufulira and Ndola where over 25 people gathered illegally. The police chief said Mr Kalaba should abide by the law, especially that he once held a senior government position. Mrs Katanga said any citizen is free to hold meetings but should first notify the police.
“The Kalaba movement, which the former minister is championing, is not registered by the Registrar of Societies. I will not allow lawlessness in my division. Anyone who does, will do so at his own peril, and Mr Kalaba is not an exception,” she said. After the interrogation, Mr Kalaba told journalists: “It [warn-and-caution] is nothing to me in the quest for liberty of Zambians. I am not afraid of being arrested.”