Zambia: President declares state of emergency

Move by Edgar Lungu follows series of arson attacks, including one Tuesday on a major bank in the capital

Zambia: President declares state of emergency

World Bulletin / News Desk

Citing a continued “sabotage” campaign against the country, Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Wednesday declared a state of emergency.

The move came on the heels of arson attacks Tuesday on a major bank in the capital Lusaka and a market with some 5,000 merchants, following similar cases of arson since April.

In a nationally televised address, Lungu invoked Article 31 of the Constitution, saying that he would submit the state of emergency to parliament tomorrow for approval.

Parliament will set the length of the state of emergency, up to 90 days, with the possibility of extending it if needed.

Lungu said that “unpatriotic” Zambians bent on economic sabotage have continued to sabotage public property in order to make the country ungovernable.

“The primary object of the government is not only to protect people and property, but also to ensure there is peace and unity at all times. For this reason, measures have been taken to protect people that stand to suffer damages if acts of sabotage are allowed to continue.”

Lungu said the decision was not an easy one, but events since April have shown that the country is slowly degenerating into lawlessness.

He warned that his government will not tolerate lawlessness to continue to thrive at the expense of the many innocent Zambians that voted for him.

In April, Lungu said that he was greatly troubled by acts of arson and threatened that if they continued he would be forced to declare a state of emergency.

Between April and June, the country has suffered several mysterious fires that saw 120 market stalls at Lusaka's Kamwala market burn down to cinders.

There were also blazes at a hostel at Chalimbana University, and five courthouses were burned down in Lusaka, Mongu, and Choma in the country’s Southern Province.

But some opposition parties, especially the UPND, charge the acts of “sabotage” were an inside job by government to consolidate Lungu's leadership and allow him to declare a state of emergency.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2017, 09:54