President Edgar Lungu says if he is pushed to the wall, he can declare a State of Emergency and propose that it is only effected in areas where there is trouble.
And President Lungu says he is not retiring any time soon.
Addressing Livingstone residents shortly after arriving at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Airport today, President Lungu said those setting public buildings ablaze were pushing him to consider declaring a State of Emergency.
“Please maintain peace, we need this peace. It takes just one foolish act to ignite trouble and it takes years before the trouble can be put to rest…so don’t be swayed by these ruble rousers. How can a person do such things and say they want leadership? Set a market ablaze; there are citizens, woman and man who are suffering day in day out to toil to find something to keep them going and you go and burn the market. Hoping people will rise against Edgar Lungu. Is that the politics we want to play?” President Lungu asked.
“Police, look out for these ruble rousers and trouble makers and bring them to book. You are forcing me to consider a State of Emergency. You know what that does? It just curtails your freedoms. You just have policemen and soldiers all over the place beating you up, your right to speak will be suspended, your right to gossip will be suspended, you right to assemble will be suspended, a lot of things. You are forcing me to do that so that the ordinary citizens suffer.”
President Lungu said he would suggest that the State of Emergency be effected only in areas where there was trouble.
“If they are not forcing me why are they burning markets? Why are they burning people’s houses and government buildings? I think you should reflect. This is how wars start. Because of one idiot? We get into trouble? No! I will not allow that. As government we will assess the situation. If you force us to go the State of Emergency [way], we will go that way and I will say can we be selective? We can be selective in our State of Emergency; it can apply to regions and areas where there will be trouble,” he said.
The Head of State insisted that he would not be forced to break the law no matter the condemnation from the international community.
“If you go and tell your friends in America, South Africa, in Europe, elsewhere, to condemn me thinking that you will bring me down, I have the mandate of the Zambian people to preside over this country. So those who think by harassing people they will force Edgar Lungu to do that which is not in the law, I am saying the law will take care of its own. I will not be forced to declare a State of Emergency but if you force me, I will do so,” he said.
“I pity the ordinary Zambians because they are the ones who are suffering. Not these guys, these guys have got air tickets. It has taken me too long to deal with these issues and even the police have been very tolerant…now that they have acted, some people think that they can push me against the wall and I break the law.”
And President Lungu said he was not retiring any time soon.
“I am not retiring soon let me tell you, I am still around. So those of you who think I am about to retire should watch this space. Secondly, I was telling people in Kasama that even those who wish me dead won’t inherit because now, there is no room for that kind of arrangement because now, if I died today, Madam Inonge Wina will take over until 2021. That is what the law says in case you haven’t read the Constitution so don’t wish me evil because you will not achieve what you want to achieve. 2021, we will decide when that time comes,” said President Lungu.
President Lungu also castigated ZANIS for over-editing their news clips and in the process removing important policy directions.