[By Edwin Mbulo and Christopher Miti]
GASSING escapades are a PF gimmick to divert Zambians’ attention from their plunder of national resources, says NDC vice-president Josephs
And Akafumba says soldiers will protect Zambians and the constitution and not an individual in 2021 as they did in 1991 during the food riots that forced the UNIP government out of power.
In an interview, Akafumba, a prominent Lusaka lawyer, who is also former justice permanent secretary said the PF needs to come clean on the recent gassing attacks experienced in various parts of the country.
“What puzzles me is the source of the gas, the type of gas used, and who the supplier is. Because poor Zambian youths cannot afford to purchase such type of chemicals that are allegedly being used, because if they are that cheap then we would have known the sources or suppliers of such gasses. What is more is that with this high unemployment rate, the so called gas may be at a far expensive cost than a bag of mealie-meal which ordinary Zambians cannot afford,” he said.
“What I believe and suspect is that this is one of those PF schemes that are meant to destruct the Zambians’ attention from the true state of the nation in terms of the economy, high costs of living and the high levels of corruption and plunder of national resources by this uncouth team of leaders. We saw it with the so-called market fires, but up to now no one was convicted. Maybe it slipped me, I can be given the names by the PF leaders as to who is in prison over the market fires we once saw Zambia being engulfed in,” Akafumba said.
He further challenged the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to tell the nation how and why a professional entity as the police was the one believing in witchcraft.
Akafumba said he heard with disbelieve that the police talked of a man turning into a cat in some ceiling board on the Copperbelt.
“What is happening across the country beats logic because if it was unemployed youths engaging in criminal activities, the major driver we have to look at is the unemployment rates. We need to look at youths mugging people or breaking into a house all to steal a television set and a pot of relish, that is crime perpetrated by hunger, not this gassing issue. Someone, somewhere in the rank and file of the PF knows better. That is why their leader was quick to offer over K200,000 in reward. Reward for what as if we don’t have a police service? That reward shouldnt have been dangled by Kakoma and the Head of State. He knows something that we don’t know. So please Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu tell the nation what is happening,” he said.
Akafumba said the unleashing of soldiers on the streets was only meant to intimidate Zambians ahead of the 2021 general elections.
“However, I am comforted in that the men and women in uniform swore never to leave anyone behind and that includes the ordinary citizens of this great country they serve. They will protect Zambians as they did in 1991 during the food riots that forced the UNIP government out of power. The men and women in uniform will help Zambians have a clean and fair election and protect the constitution they always swear to do when passing-out. They never swear to save a Mr so and so, they swear to protect the constitution and that is not Mr Lungu or PF,” said Akafumba.
The PF have crafted a narrative framing UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to be behind the gassing attacks.
Several people suspected to have been involved in gassing attacks have been killed by instant mobs.
Hichilema on the other hand has squarely blamed gassing attacks on government.
Meanwhile, chief chanje of the Chewa people in Chipangali district has called for urgent meetings in his and chief Chikuwe’s areas to discuss the infamous gassing issue.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, chief Chanje, who is also a caretaker chief for Chikuwe chiefdom, stated that he was worried with the increased cases of gassing in the country.
“I am worried with the gassing incidences in villages and the country at large. I have called for an urgent meeting for all headmen in Chanje area this Thursday (today) and in Chikuwe area on Friday (tomorrow). My main target is to address them on how they could prevent and safeguard ourselves from this infamous gassing issue,” he stated.
Chief Chanje feared that the current suspicions surrounding gassing might disturb the people that were conducting mapping exercise.
“The situation is not good; pupils have been spending sleepless nights in boarding schools, innocent people are being beaten while others are taking advantage of the situation to start stealing,” he stated.
Chief Chanje said the youth, who were currently conducting mapping exercise, should be identified by their uniforms.
Nyimba residents fought running battles with the police on Monday as they demanded for the release of the alleged gassing suspects that were in police custody so that they could pounce on them.
Business came to a standstill as most vehicles, including buses were parked at the police station.
Some roads were blocked while police fired teargas to disperse the rioting crowd.
Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia Bishop William Mchombo, who was enroute to Lusaka, said the bus he boarded was delayed for some hours due to the volatile situation in Nyimba.
In Chipata, some people trooped to Chipata Central police station around 17:00 hours on Tuesday when word went round that some gassing suspects were taken to the police station.