21 April 2017

Zambia: Pres. Lungu Ponders State of Emergency

Photo: Zambia Reports
President Edgar Lungu.

President Lungu said he may be forced to declare a state of emergency if his political adversaries continue daring him.

The Head of State has also said that if the current policing methods by the law enforcement agencies are not working they will be forced to switch to alternative means.

Speaking on arrival at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, President Lungu said that he was of the view that the police had been too tolerant.

President was responding to the tensed up political climate in the country following the arrest of opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema who has been charged with treason.

There have been sporadic incidences of suspected arson with some markets and courtrooms burnt in suspected retaliatory measures.

"I will not be pushed to declare a state of emergency, but if you force me I will do so," he said.

"But I pity the ordinary Zambians because they are the ones suffering not these big guys. These guys have got air tickets; they have got friends who can evacuate them from Zambia."

He added: "It is the people who voted for me whom I worry about, the Zambians who voted for me, the ordinary Zambians. It has taken me too long to speak out on this issue and I think the police have been very tolerant."

He warned that police may have to step and use more effective measures of quelling possible instability.

"We are studying the situation and if the measures we have currently in place are not sufficient, we will look for alternative measures. There is always enough room in the law to perhaps look for other measures. If the current policing is not working, we will look for other measures we may find other methods of policing," he said.

Hichilema and five others are facing treason charges with the matter still in the magistrate court where preliminary issues are being addressed.

The matter has since been adjourned to next Wednesday with Hichilema remaining in incarceration since treason is a non bailable offence.

Treason carries a maximum death sense.

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