The invocation of the State of Emergency will severely injure both the peace and prosperity of our nation. The action by President Lungu has no capacity to heal the deep divide that is currently obtaining in the nation.
What the police need is not more power to divide the nation further, but more training in managing the massive powers they already have.
For this reason, we appeal to president Lungu to reverse his decision and allow Zambians to continue living normal lives.
Since independence from British Colonial rule in 1964, the past four days have perhaps been the most intriguing, breathtaking and uncertain period in the history of our Nation.
The State has carried citizens on a well calculated wild goose chase that has left many bewildered, confused, insecure and uncertain for their future, the future of their children and that of this Country.
Never in the 50 year history of this Nation have citizens been left on edge, without hope and direction.
Our common and shared values as Zambians which make us unique, different and sovereign from other Nations, have been hijacked right before our eyes. Ironically by those that justify such action on account of State sovereignty, supposedly on behalf of our citizens.
When President Edgar Lungu left for Addis Ababa a few days ago, his Home Affairs Minister hinted at suspending civil liberties inorder to bring under control what he termed as elements that were bent on planting seeds of confusion in the Nation. The Minister revealed that there was a traditional leader who Government would soon arrest “aggressively” and without mercy,because he was sponsoring local terrorism and sabotage.
Before the ink of his impromptu press briefing dried up, there was a fire at the Lusaka City Market, a place surprisingly heavily guarded by State Police and PF Party militias, at the behest of the State.
We were troubled that the earliest responders on the crime scene were the Home Affairs Minister and the Vice President who quickly concluded who they thought were the prime suspects. Now we find that remarkable.
Those that have knowledge of the crime of arson will agree that it is a very complex matter to establish and resolve, as forensics experts have to comb for, identify and isolate every piece of evidence. The experts will seal the crime scene to ensure evidence is not contaminated and disturbed.
The fire that ravaged the London Apartments a few weeks ago is still being investigated by one of the World’s most sophisticated forensic experts of the Scotland Yard, and yet our own local politicians concluded the findings within two hours of the incident.
The City Market complex was visited by a bunch of politicians and hoardes of slogan chanting cadres when the place was still smouldering with plumes of smoke.
As if not to be out manoeuvred, Mr Lungu also arrived on the scene begging the victims not to carry out ‘revenge’. These utterances are not only troubling but are also indicative that the PF had already concluded who they perceived the perpetrators were.
Mr Lungu’s on going process of declaring a state of emergency undermines and prejudices a complex investigation. The investigators will have to align the investigation to the wishes and whims of the Executive. We saw it during the trial of Mr Hichilema that the Police had to arrest without evidence-based facts, because political considerations overshadowed fairness and natural justice.
We advise that Mr Lungu tones down his rhetoric. What will happen as a result of his decisions will affect everyone because all of us including his Police, aides and soldiers have relatives in villages, townships and cities across the Republic. His harsh leadership that was only being felt by opposition supporters will now permeate all sectors of society and is bound to backfire on him sooner than later.
We realise his aggressive ambition and efforts to ensure those that do not recognize his Presidency do so by hook or crook. Our question would be, does he also recognize that half of the population voted against him? This is a very important and sobering fact that was ably brought to the fore by President Kuffo of Ghana last week.
This back and forth jostling of Mr Lungu is appalling. He must clearly state his beliefs in a clear and concise manner without leaving citizens in doubt. Mr Lungu vehemently and maliciously dismissed respected Church Mother Bodies who revealed that there was a crisis in Zambia. But then he goes ahead to raise the security levels to the highest code but still denies that there’s tension but only what he termed as “terror”.
Mr Lungu must avoid semantics and come out of self denial and look at the problems of his own making right in the face. Declaring a state of emergency is as naive as treating the symptoms of the illness than the actual ailment.
It doesn’t matter how many of us his Police with sweeping powers will lock up, as long as he doesn’t deal with the disputed elections of 2016, no amount of police force will break the Zambian spirit for truth.
His suggestion in his Thursday’s press conference that the opposition are mulling a Government of National Unity is bizzare, appalling and is absolutely unfortunate. The petition must be heard. That’s the long held view of the opposition.
Instead of being an expert in toying and exploiting people’s hurts, let Mr Lungu cease fire. He holds the instruments of power, let him be the first one to offer peace instead of belligerence, sanity instead of confusion and love instead of hate.