The Zambia parliament, comprising only of ruling party MPs, has extended the state of emergency declared by dictator Edgar Lungu a week ago.
Meanwhile, Energy minister David Mabumba advised his Home Affairs counterpart Stephen Kampyongo to kill those who are burning down markets without taking them to court, just like America did to terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
And Kampyongo told Parliament that people should be ready to pick up corpses of those who will be found near Zesco pylons illegally.
Meanwhile, 85 members of parliament, all buT PF, have voted unanimously to extend the State of Emergency by three months, in the absence of UPND members.
Mabumba was supporting a motion moved by Gogo Inonge Wina in Parliament in terms of Artcle 31 of the Constitution, as declared by Edgar Lungu, but he went on to say that arsonists did not deserve to be taken to court.
“I want to say that this sabotage when it began, we never knew as ministry of Energy whether it was sabotage or it was a natural act as a result of lightning, but given the circumstances of the sabotage in Kafue as well as in Shantumbu, it is quite demonstrated that this is sabotage as a result of home grown terror, although it is yet to be confirmed. But we cannot sit and watch because the money that the government is spending through reconstructions works; the Lusiwasi, the Kafue West as well as the Shantumbu, collectively we have spent more than 3 million dollars, that amount of money should have been able to take power into Mafinga…” Mabumba said.
“So madam Speaker, there was no any other strategy that this government could have taken. We have people that want to become extremists, people that have become terrorists. For a normal person to go and stand in those heavy pylons, cutting them, it means they do not even fear for their own lives. Therefore, they are terrorists. So if they are terrorists, the biggest International Terrorist we had in the world [Bin Laden], why is it that the Americans never went and arrested him and took him to the judicial system? What happened…? I want to urge Honourable Kampyongo that terrorists shouldn’t go to the judicial system. There is a punishment that has been demonstrated by the Americans that if you are a terrorist, either we take you to Guantanamo Bay or… you know what else… you want to go to the graveyard.”
But deputy speaker Namugala pretended to stop Mabumba from suggesting unorthodox punishment for wrong doers.
“Honourable…!” Namugala interjected as Mabumba tried to continue “…because they don’t mean well for the Zambian people”.
Namugala insisted: “Honourable Minister of Energy, Zambia is a constitutional democracy as you know, anchored in the rule of law. Therefore I am afraid Honourable Minister, you are not at liberty to start suggesting other means or other methods of dealing with wrong doers. You may continue but please don’t take that route.
Mabumba then withdrew his remarks.
“Thank you Madam Speaker for that guidance and I probably have to withdraw that, it will be up to Honourable Kampyongo and his team to decide,” he said.
Mabumba said Lungu declared a threatened State of Emergency to protect sensitive installation for the benefits of all Zambians.
“The President had to invoke Article 31 because he was given the mandate by the Zambian people to govern and to protect them. The power infrastructure that has been affected in terms of home-grown terrorism in the recent months, they do not belong to the President of Zambia as Mr Lungu per se. They don’t belong to the PF per se, neither do they belong to any political party in this country. They belong to collectively the Zambian people. Therefore we are supposed to protect them collectively. Therefore, the measures that the President took madam Speaker, given the Geographical locations of our transmission lines, it is any country all over the world, even the best countries where democracy has matured to have the best policing strategy,” said Mabumba.
“The President was trying to give our colleagues in the security wings additional power to protect them. And by protecting this infrastructure, madam Speaker, the President is protecting the lives of our people. When you burn the market like what happened at City Market, When you sabotage the Kafue West transmission lines so that Copperbelt or the entire Zambia is in black out, what are you trying to achieve? It is against that background, madama Speaker, that this economy is supposed to be given additional power. So that that woman in Kalingalinga who is a salon owner. That person who has a poultry. My friends in Kalingalinga who are metal fabricators can be assured and guaranteed of their income. This is what the President is doing, to guarantee the income of the vulnerable people who voted for him.”
And in winding up debate, Kampyongo warned that people should be ready to pick up corpses of those they send to interfere with Zesco pylons.
“Some tabloid quoted me that I said there would be loss of life. And I would like to say, if you are going to send someone to a Zesco pylon, you must also be ready to pick up corpses,” said Kampyongo.
But Deputy Speaker Namugala reminded him that Zambia was a democratic country which dealt with suspects according to the law and asked him to withdraw his statement.
“Madam Speaker, I humbly withdraw but I replace with ‘don’t be found where you are not supposed to be’.”