Eastern Province minister Makebi Zulu has said it is constitutional for President Lungu to invoke Article 31 and Zambians should defend his decision and not fall prey to those abusing the declaration to propagate their agenda of defaming the country's democratic record.
Mr Zulu, who is a lawyer, said Zambians should defend the Constitution and not defame the country's name by claiming the country was sliding into a dictatorship.
"Article 31 is in the Constitution we all pledge to support, so why are we defaming our nation by saying that Zambia is sliding into a dictatorship?" he said.
Mr Zulu said this yesterday at the Patriotic Front media interactive forum in Lusaka.
He said the suspected acts of sabotage started soon after the August 11 election, with a number of markets, Government buildings and Zesco power infrastructure attacked by unknown persons..
He said the media should help put the proclamation of Article 31 in perspective, by helping to explain how the decision was arrived at.
Mr Zulu said it was unfortunate that there were some foreign and local media that insisted on misleading the public by tying the incarceration of the United Party for National Development (UPND)
president Hakainde Hichilema to the proclamation and not the series of sabotage that had taken place since last year August.
He said Article 31 was declared in order to protect livelihoods, peace and democracy after the various acts of arson.
Mr Zulu said the misinformation of Article 31 by some media houses was not, by default, but by design in order to maximise on the falsehoods to portray a bad picture about Zambia.
The minister wondered whether it was an acknowledgement on the part of UPND supporters that they could have had a hand in the acts of sabotage whenever they called for the release of Mr Hichilema as a way to end acts of public property destruction.
He said he had followed various radio phone-in programmes in which UPND sympathisers insisted that Mr Hichilema should be released in order to end the various acts of sabotage.
Mr Zulu said he wanted to believe that it was a misunderstanding on the part of the UPND supporters because it would not make sense to destroy public property as a way to rise to governance.
He urged Zambians to be patriotic and defend the country's Constitution by portraying matters the way they were.