“…is this the armageddon that was promised to the country?” President Lungu questions the hostility and violence in Southern Province
By Nation Reporter
AS horrific details emerge of UPND thugs hunting down Bembas and Ngonis who have been earmarked for expulsion from Southern Province, PF Members of Parliament have called for an urgent caucus meeting of their party to strategize on an appropriate response.
About 58 Zambians from other parts of the country living in Namwala district in Southern Province have been displaced and are now camped at Namwala Secondary School after being attacked by UPND cadres protesting the re-election of President Edgar Lungu.
Reports reaching the Daily Nation indicate that families were forced to flee their homes and spend nights in the bush from where they later found their way to safety in Lusaka and Livingstone, while their homes and shops were looted and torched.
PF MPs are outraged and plans are now underway for the 112 members of Parliament who include PF and Independent members to convene a meeting to discuss the matter.
“This country cannot be held to ransom by a small group of power hungry people. We won this election and the UPND has failed to challenge the figures. They have not challenged any single result as required by the Electoral Act but have instead gone on a national and international propaganda campaign with vague and irresponsible statements. We cannot allow this kind of treason and irresponsibility,” one of the MPs said. Jean Kapata, the Mandevu MP and Bowman Lusambo, the newly elected Kabushi lawmaker, said an urgent meeting at which the violence that has rocked Southern Province, targeting non-Tonga speaking people should be the main agenda, was necessary. Mr Lusambo has warned UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema that he risked being arrested and jailed for allegedly fanning violence in his region by claiming that the Constitutional Court was going to nullify the election of President Lungu.
Mr Lusambo said if Mr Hichilema was a leader worth his salt, he should have strongly condemned the ‘‘ethnic cleansing’’ that has emerged in Southern Province.
He said it was surprising that the UPND had rushed to the Constitutional Court without exhausting the procedure under the Electoral Act (Section 76) which provided a seven-door window in which any wrong results could be corrected.
This was an ideal opportunity, he said, that concerns about results could have been canvassed directly with the ECZ.
“We are warning Mr Hichilema to stop his supporters from causing mayhem in Southern Province. This country has lived in unity and harmony and this is the first time we are experiencing this kind of tribalism,” Mr Lusambo said.
Chief Mukobela of Namwala is currently in hiding as the UPND thugs are threatening his life on suspicion that he was sympathizing with the PF.
Ms Kapata said it was urgent for the PF parliamentarians to meet because what was happening in Southern Province could easily spark civil strife in the country.
She said it was worrying that the UPND was using tribe to take up the country’s political leadership and warned that such a political trajectory had the real potential to divide the country.
“I must state that we are deeply concerned with the happenings in Southern Province. We have heard that non-Tonga speaking people are being victimized, with some having been chased from the region while many have had their houses burnt on suspicion that they could have voted for the PF.
“This is not the Zambia we know and I want to call on all PF parliamentarians including Independent MPs that we should urgently meet to discuss this seemingly ethnic cleansing in Southern Province,” Ms Kapata said.