HH gassing claims surprises Lungu

STATE House says President Edgar Lungu is “surprised” that ‘some people’ feel they are being targeted for arrest over the on-going incidents.

On Wednesday, The Mast quoted UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema saying he knows that the government is targeting him for arrest over the gassing incidents in the country.

Hichilema is also alarmed that Vice-President Inonge Wina, old as she is” is pushing the narrative that there is a political head to gassing, the same way she claimed when City Market was burnt in 2017.

The opposition leader was speaking at the UPND secretariat in Lusaka yesterday.

He asked those in the PF: “how much more hatred are you going to push against a fellow citizen who is only seeking leadership to liberate the people from poverty and hunger?”

President Lungu said it was warped thinking to imagine that the government could turn against its own people just because of an effort to incarcerate one Zambian.

The President was speaking through his press aide Isaac Chipampe at State House this evening.

President Lungu said at the end of the day, the people being attacked as gassing suspects were Zambians and that they may belong to any political party.

“So, of what benefit will it be for government to attack its own people?” President Lungu wondered.

“To the people behind the current crimes, we are coming for you whether from ruling or opposition party, church or NGO. We are coming for you regardless of who you are or what you are. No red herring will distract the current investigations.”

The President also cautioned citizens against taking the law into their own hands and consequently destroy property or take away others’ lives.

Asked why President Lungu could not address the nation on gassing incidents, Chipampe responded that: “the President has been talking at various fora.”

“Addressing the nation is just one of the ways that he can communicate to the masses. He is going to address the nation when it’s appropriate,” Chipampe said.

“You know that he also depends on security advice before he talks. So, this issue is being handled by a lot of security agencies and he needs their advice before he can commit himself to saying anything.”

He added that those behind the gassing episode wanted President Lungu to declare a state of emergency: “so that they criticise him on the same issue.”

“So, the President is giving an opportunity to everyone who has information about what is happening to go and…. Surely, how can a government start killing its own people! And then rule who? That’s the question the President is asking,” he explained.

“And the people who are being killed, it’s not like they are opposition or they are ruling party – it’s every Zambian. And they are people who don’t even belong to any of these political parties.”

Meanwhile, Chipampe noted that President Lungu’s major concern was the fear, arising from gassing, that citizens were filled with.

“The President is concerned that people are feeling insecure. The President feels that people need to be assured that this will come to an end…” noted Chipampe.

“The President hasn’t accused anyone. That’s why he is surprised that some people are saying ‘I’m being targeted.’ He is surprised!”

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