RAINBOW Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says the gassing ‘mystery’ must be analysed from the dimension of the current economic meltdown in Zambia.
He believes the recent gassing episodes in the country are a consequence of a bad economy.
Meanwhile, Kabimba indicates that amidst today’s despondency among many citizens, Zambia needs a leadership that is analytical and spends sleepless nights analysing the causes of social distress.
“We have a situation where those of us in the urban areas, the so-called elite, will be scared to go to the rural areas for as long as this [gassing] situation persists. We have come to be perceived to be enemies of the dispossessed,” Kabimba said in an interview in Lusaka.
“That’s why, in my view, this issue must be analysed from an economic dimension – a meltdown of the economy which has given rise to the anger of another society within the same society of the disaffected and the dispossessed.”
He said it was for that reason that it had become very difficult for even investigative agencies to “put a finger so far on the causes of this gassing.”
He wondered what the aim of gassing was.
“Is it to kill the people? Is it just to incapacitate them so that they can steal from their homes? What is the objective? So you need a police service, an intelligence service, security wings that can answer these questions,” Kabimba noted.
“It’s not enough to simply tell us ‘we have picked up the mastermind of gassing’ or ‘we have arrested the leaders of a mob justice that killed X’. We have to know the thinking of these people (gassing masterminds).”
Kabimba, who served as justice minister in Michael Sata’s administration, further pointed out that the PF government did not seem to have an idea as to how to manage the economy.
He indicated that the ramifications of such failure would be diverse social problems at family, community and national levels.
“This is what we are seeing today!” he said.
“When an economy is facing a meltdown in the manner our economy is doing now…When people are hungry and angry, you should expect a lot of social problems. The economy has become a runaway economy to PF.”
Kabimba also condemned the witnessed mob killings of suspected gassers, saying the trend was “very un-Zambian.”
“It is actually a symptom of an angry and hungry society under this economy. That’s a reaction that you see. Why is it that only those of us that come from urban areas are being suspected to be gassers? [It’s] because under this economy we are perceived to be the ones that are doing well, that are living a good life,” he explained.
“So, the economy has divided the country into two societies – the deprived in the countryside and the dispossessed in the countryside, including land dispossession, and the elite that are in town. Hence the situation that you see like the murder of the former town clerk of Lusaka [Timothy] Hakuyu. Hakuyu was murdered in his home area – he spoke Tonga, he was Tonga and the people that murdered him were Tongas. But do you know the divide between him and them? It’s because he was urbanised and they are in the countryside. So he became an enemy to them, to that extent.”
Kabimba regretted that Zambian society had become economically polarised.
“If I’m gassed there at my residence (on Independence Avenue, near State House), the suspect would be from Ng’ombe, for instance. Do you know why? [It’s] because there’s a social divide between the fellow from Ng’ombe and myself,” Kabimba noted.
“We are living in a country of economic apartheid and unless and until we get a leadership that can analyse this problem from its correct dimension, finger-pointing will not stop.”
Kabimba further branded as fake news an article on online platform Koswe that he linked gassing to PF youths allegedly trained in Sudan.
“There was a story on Koswe blog attributed to me, that ‘Wynter Kabimba says that it is true that PF sent youths to go and train in Sudan and those are the youths that have come back and that they are doing the gassing today.’ I never made such a statement. It was all fake news,” Kabimba clarified.
Meanwhile, Kabimba indicated that he was not satisfied with the explanation given by security wings over the gassing matter.
He lamented that Zambians were very simplistic in their way of approaching their problems.
“Let me give you this example; when the former minister of finance was fired, everybody said ‘it is good that Margaret Mwanakatwe has been fired; the economy is bad because she drinks too much.’ The kwacha then was at K12 [against the US dollar],” Kabimba said.
“In the absence of Margaret Mwanakatwe, the kwacha today is sitting at K15! So you can see the simplistic nature of trying to analyse problems and understand the cause and effect of problems, even by society itself at large.”
He stressed his view that even the best economist could not revive Zambia’s economy.
“Even a guy from the US Treasury [Department], the minister of finance from America or from the UK will not fix this economy because the economy excludes the majority of the people from production. The economy is put in compartments that excludes Zambians,” said Kabimba.
“The banking sector, for example, is foreign, the mining sector is foreign, the most productive area in the agricultural sector is foreign. So how can that economy create employment? It can’t! So you need a leadership that is analytical and spends sleepless nights on analysing the causes and effect of problems.”