Arrest violent cadres, says Lungu

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has condemned the battle of retribution between the PF and the UPND cadres and has called for the arrest of all perpetrators of violence irrespective of their political association because those involved in the vice were not ready for democracy and co-existence.

And the Head of State said all the appointments in his Government would be based on merit and has demanded hard work and best service from all the appointees because Zambians were expecting nothing less than unsurpassed performance.

Mr Lungu said violence was not going to take the country anywhere, cautioning that the way the PF cadres were treating their fellow citizens from the UPND was unacceptable and an affront to the tenets of democracy.

The Head of State said the victors in the just ended presidential election should appreciate that they were victorious and should therefore stop mocking, harassing and beating UPND members.

President Lungu said this yesterday at State House when he swore in Southern Province minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu, High Commissioner to Namibia Sylvia Chalikosa and Special Assistant (Economic and Development Affairs) Hibeene Mwiinga.

He said there was a limit to which those being harassed, mocked and provoked would tolerate such victimization and intimidation and it was therefore imperative for the police to act swiftly before the violence could escalate to uncontrollable levels.

The President said he was not in support of what the PF cadres were doing to opposition members, stating that the UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema had already accepted defeat and his members should not continue being mocked, taunted and harassed.

He said although he was aware that some people in Southern Province were still in the campaign mode, honking and trumpeting, it was important that such provocative activities were halted because the election was over and it was time for the country to get down to work.

“I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the nation that violence will not take us anywhere. The way the PF cadres are treating UPND members is unacceptable and we must understand that there was no victor and vanquished in the last presidential election.

You cannot continue mocking, provoking and fighting those who lost the election. If you go on taunting and harassing our colleagues even when their leaders have accepted defeat, then you are not ready for democracy and I do not support that. The police must therefore move in quickly and stop this violence and ensure that those involved are brought to book,” President Lungu said.

And Mr Lungu said all appointments in his Government would be on merit and it was his expectation that those who would be privileged to serve under him would have to perform to the best of their abilities.

President Lungu said in his desire to mobilise the best personnel to work in his Government, he had to search far and wide because he knew that there were many Zambians who were competent and that those getting appointed were only privileged.

The Head of State warned that he did not expect slip-ups and sluggish performance from those he was appointing because the time was too short for any margin of error in meeting the aspirations and expectation of the citizens.

President Lungu has reiterated that not all the ministers in the previous Government would be reappointed into his administration, stating that he would only appoint leaders on the principle of meritocracy.

“In my quest to form the best team, all the appointments will be on meritocracy and I do not expect slip-ups and sluggish performance. Some of my colleagues in the previous Government will come back and certainly some will not.

There will be no success without hard work. Tomorrow (today), I will be going out and will leave the country in the capable hands of the Vice-President and I expect Zambians to cooperate with her,” President Lungu said.

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