MMD leader Nevers Mumba has warned home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo that arresting chief Mukuni will be a fatal mistake because it will underline a widely held view of the PF’s intention and vision of intimidating critical voices.
And Mike Mulongoti has urged the PF not to politicise and pick fights with everyone.
In a statement following Kampyongo’s remarks yesterday that they would soon arrest a chief suspected to be funding unrest in the country, Mumba has stated that all Zambians were aware of how state agents had been trailing chief Mukuni because of his steadfast opposition to the incarceration of UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema.
He stated that many were too familiar with the PF’s preparatory mind games when they were about to hatch a non-existent offense and lump it on innocent citizens.
Mumba recalled that when Hichilema was about to be arrested on what had clearly become disgraceful trumped up charges of treason, citizens were treated to a series of statements from politicians that pointed out the intentions of “this brutal government”.
“The political pronouncements were followed by rapid backup police press releases from the Inspector General of Police and before we knew it, Hakainde Hichilema’s private home was raided by masked police throwing stun grenades armed with nerve gas,” Mumba stated.
He stated that Kampyongo had yesterday warned that the PF would use “aggressive force” on the chief and the people that he was sending to commit the alleged offences.
“This kind of unpalatable and intimidatory language heightens the tension that is already dragging this country into the backwaters and dark ages of despotism and autocracy. Citizens are simply tired and mortally wounded by such institutionalised threats being breathed upon their necks every other day,” Mumba stated.
“These threats are not only undermining the collective self-confidence and resourcefulness of our people; they also underscore and confirm what our country has become – an appalling dictatorship and Banana Republic. We are well aware how government agents have been trailing senior Chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya, who has steadfastly opposed the incarceration of Hakainde Hichilema and we would therefore not be surprised that the PF is scheming to arrest him for expressing his views as a citizen.”
He stated that considering the many threats from the likes of Mumbi Phiri against chief Mukuni, there was little doubt that Kampyongo was referring to him.
We wish to warn Kampyongo that arresting chief Mukuni would be a fatal mistake because it would underline a widely held view of the PF’s intention and vision of intimidating people of Southern Province, Mumba cautioned. Citizens are aware how the PF has used ethnicity as a tool to divide them and set neighbour against neighbour. It’s not too long ago that a Mr Edwin Sakala appealed to the chiefs of the Eastern Province to ostracise Tongas and drive them from the region. The police have failed to arrest Mr Sakala to date because government allows such intolerance and divisiveness in order to remain in power.
He further advised Kampyongo that chief Mukuni’s chiefdom extended into Botswana and Zimbabwe and any attempt of harassing him would have international ramifications that would further degrade Zambia, whose image was already headed for the dust bin of history.
“Chief Mukuni other than being a traditional chief has a tremendous influence on international tourism of the Victoria falls, which is in his chiefdom. His arrest would immediately send a signal that doesn’t help the image of this country, especially at this hour where Zambia makes international headlines for all the wrong reasons,” cautioned Mumba.
“We advise the PF to allow the citizens to have a break from these self-inflicted wounds that they are subjecting them to. Zambians are traumatised and hurting, enough is enough.”
And Mulongoti stated that Kampyongo’s threats to arrest a chief were an indication of how morally bankrupt and divisive the PF had become.
He stated that Kampyongo’s threats were an assault on the freedom of association and meant to intimidate those chiefs that had openly shown support towards Hichilema.
“This country belongs to all its residents. Keep your soiled hands away from our traditional authorities. This careless utterance by Kampyongo is not only alarming but shows that Edgar Lungu will go any length to ensure that his dictatorial tendencies are felt in all sectors of the country. The role and value of traditional chiefs in Zambia is indelible. To attack one chief because of his support against the incarceration of one of his subjects would be an insult on the entire House of Chiefs. Chiefs play a vital role in preserving Zambia’s heritage, culture and art for sustainable development and national identity,” stated Mulongoti.
“We as People’s Party urge Edgar Lungu to emulate the colonial masters in finding an amicable way of working with our chiefs, rather than using a hostile home affairs minister to antagonise them. Lungu, Kampyongo and the entire PF should bear in mind that these chiefs preside over large chiefdoms with thousands of subjects. Arresting one of them would certainly pit the government against the chiefs’ subjects. This would be extremely undesirable.”