JACK Kalala says there are strong signs the PF regime is involved in the gassing of citizens to create anarchy and lay ground to declare a state of emergency so as to arrest political opponents.
On Wednesday State House said President Edgar Lungu is “surprised” that ‘some people’ feel they are being targeted for arrest over the on-going incidents.
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.
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?”
wondered President Lungu. “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.”
But in a statement yesterday, Kalala, the former special assistant for monitoring and project implementation of late president Levy Mwanawasa, noted that the PF government in the 2019 and 2020 budgets provided more than K4 billion to purchase, among other things, teargas canisters for the police.
“For what are these teargases intended to be used? Are they intended to gas animals in our national parks? It should be stated that this country has been holding general elections under the multiparty system since 1991. No government before this PF regime had budgeted so much money to buy teargases in anticipation of violence during an upcoming general election. Why now?” he asked.
“Could one be wrong to speculate that the PF regime, given its notorious record of violence, did buy these teargases and other unknown gases to prepare to create a situation that would incite people throughout the country to react and then use these teargases to curb the ensuing violence?”
Kalala said the prospects “are high that the PF regime could be behind the plot to create chaos and anarchy in the country to create a situation to declare a state of emergency that would lead to the arrest of targeted political enemies and restrain other political parties to campaign to leave room to the PF alone as it recently happened in Chilubi”.
“What gave the President [Edgar Lungu] the confidence and impunity to make the following claims? (1) No Tonga would become President in this country in the near future. (2) Even if you don’t vote for us in 2021, we will remain there and continue in leadership. (3) Whether you like it or not I will be there in 2021, 2026 and 2031. These claims were made publicly and they are there on record,” he said. “Yes, there are strong signs to indicate that the regime is involved in the gassing of citizens and that the motive is to create anarchy to lay ground to declare a state of emergency and to arrest political opponents as it happened before.”
Kalala said it was wrong for President Lungu to order stakeholders and citizens to stop talking about the insecurity in the country when he had “clearly and lamentably” failed to provide leadership to bring the rot to an end.
“What is he afraid of? In a democracy like ours, it is the duty of the opposition, NGOs, the Church and the citizens at large to speak out on matters affecting the nation. Lives are being lost, people are living in fear, law and order are breaking down without anything being done by those charged with the responsibility to protect and safeguard the lives of citizens and he expects us to keep quiet. NO, we will not! Zambia is our country,” he charged. “We want peace, stability and unity of purpose to continue prevailing in the country. We want security and safety for everyone, in particular our children. We do not want the regime to turn our youth into criminals and killers. Above all we want next year to have free, fair and transparent elections. We want the people of Zambia to freely choose for themselves responsible leaders who will work to develop this country for the common good. We want our nation to continue to be united and our people to live in harmony, love and tranquillity and work to build our nation together for the benefit of all its citizens.”
He said President Lungu and his assistants should know that they are not “our bosses but our servants and we pay them with our money”.
“They were not put into those offices to bully us into silence but to work for us. We are their masters and as such we have a right to call them to order when we observe that they are underperforming or misleading the nation,” Kalala said. “We refuse to be intimidated into silence. We say no to dictatorship. We do not want our people to be traumatized and killed for nothing. We do not want anarchy and lawlessness to prevail in our country. We do not want dictatorship and injustice in our beautiful country. We want democracy, freedom, peace and tranquillity to thrive. We want protection of life and not its destruction. We want public security to reign.”
He called on the government to provide public security and ensure protection of all citizens, organisations and institutions against threats to their wellbeing and to the prosperity of their communities.
“If President Lungu and his minions have failed to meet the aspirations of the people of Zambia, they should leave room to capable people. They should not engage in dubious schemes to destroy the country,” Kalala said. “Finally, I want to make an earnest appeal to let the police work professionally without political interference. I want also to call for an independent investigation into the gassing and killing of our people. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes should not be allowed to get away scot-free. We want to know more about the gas and its source. Yes, we want to know and everyone wants to know.”
He noted that it has been more than two months since the prevailing insecurity situation in the country started and very little, “if nothing, has since been done to bring it under control, let alone to end it”.
Kalala said instead what started in one corner of the country had spread unabated across the entire country like a wild bush fire.
“Due to the apparent failure by the PF regime leadership and the institutions charged with responsibility to maintain law and order, the citizens, feeling unprotected, have unfortunately resorted to taking the law in their own hands in what they believe to be self defence. This has unfortunately led to unprecedented atrocious acts of instant justice meted out to suspects of the gassing acts,” noted Kalala. “Typical of the PF leadership, both in government and the party, they have resorted, with their President in the lead, to play the game they know better: scapegoating others. The President initially put the blame on fake pastors and one pastor was consequently incarcerated. Now the finger pointing has shifted to the usual and intended target, namely the opposition and in particular HH [Hakainde Hichilema. It is my considered view that this is a pathetic way of dealing with a crisis such as the one currently threatening the peace and security of our country. It is irresponsible to deal with issues of grave concern in a casual or business as usual manner. The scapegoating mentality is a mark of lack of leadership and competence capabilities. It also points to serve some hidden scheme.”