NEED has risen for the engagement of private investigators into the gassing incidents that have rocked the country since last December, says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
He says the current chemical gassings which has led to more than 20 people being killed in cold blood by mobs and the police around the country calls for external support.
In a statement yesterday, Hichilema said there was need to engage independent investigators to help bring to book the culprits behind the acts which have led to paranoia among the citizenry.
“As UPND, we believe that these gassing incidents are State sponsored and specifically intended to eliminate political opponents. We therefore call on the Zambian government, for the purposes of transparency and for the citizens and the world to know the truth, to seek the assistance of Scotland Yard and the FBI in the UK and the US respectively, to come and assist with dealing with this state of affairs which the government appear to be failing to handle,” he said.
“We have absolutely nothing to fear and believe that the truth needs to come out so that the Zambian people know who the perpetrators are, through our judicial system.”
Hichilema asked the PF government if it had nothing to hide to rise to the occasion and agree that independent law enforcement agencies like the FBI and Scotland Yard be invited to investigate the crimes.
“This is a challenge which no responsible government anywhere in the world can refuse when their own citizens live in fear and being murdered every day,” he said.
Hichilema said citizens were resorting to mob justice because they felt the police service was not doing enough to protect them.
“Let’s seek help from international investigative wings if we are failing to deal with perpetrators of terror attacks. Zambia is faced with events that may plunge the country into serious chaos if not handled properly. Over the last three months, the country has seen over 20 individuals killed either by mobs or by the police as the nation is gripped with criminal acts of chemical gassing right across the Republic,” Hichilema said.
“These events involve criminal gangs or individuals spraying chemicals in the homes of citizens, that several media reports have indicated have an effect similar to clinical chemicals used in theatres during surgical procedures.”
He said three months into the gassing events, the police have claimed to have arrested over 30 people “with none of them produced before the courts of law, and so far there’s no explanation to the citizens as to what is causing these events”.
“Despite deploying the armed forces and other security agencies, the incidents seem to be on the upswing than on the decline. This has left citizens wondering and feeling helpless, and subsequently resorting to the irregularities of mob justice resulting in the unfortunate loss of innocent lives,” Hichilema noted.
He also observed that children were unfortunately becoming victims of the mobs.
“In many parts of Lusaka, mobs have taken the law into their own hands because they seem to have lost faith in law enforcement to protect them. Many innocent citizens have been killed and the country is in a state of uncertainty and fear,” Hichilema said.
“What is profoundly alarming is that several actors within the Patriotic government are determined to link these events to the UPND and have been issuing statements that can incite retribution to innocent citizens, with potential to degenerate into genocide. We are also seeing parallels to past events that were State sponsored by previous governments, that were used to drive fear into the community, then used to arrest and assassinate political opponents.”
He said the gassings cannot be a mere coincidence, but are a well calculated and coordinated effort to accuse the opposition as being responsible for the heinous criminal acts.
“These events are way too complicated for the opposition to pull off in a police state like Zambia, where not even a discussion on proposed legislative changes like Bill 10 can be allowed, without the PF arresting or beating innocent citizens that are expressing their democratic rights,” said Hichilema.