MMD president Nevers Mumba says he knows Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo was referring to Chief Mukuni when he threatened to arrest a traditional leader but it will be a grave mistake.

In a statement today, Mumba observed that Chief Mukuni was being targeted for opposing UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s incarceration.

“The Home Affairs Ministsr Steven Kampyongo yesterday is reported to have warned of an impending arrest of a Chief who he claims is funding unrest. Mr Kampyongo warned that the PF would use ‘aggressive force’ on the Chief and the people that he is sending to commit the alleged offences. This kind of unpalatable and intimidatory language heightens the tension that is already dragging this Country into the backwaters and dark ages of despotism and autocracy. Citizens are simply tired and mortally wounded by such institutionalized threats being breathed upon their necks every other day,” Mumba said.

“These threats are not only undermining the collective self confidence and resourcefulness of our people, they also underscore and confirm what our Country has become, an appalling dictatorship and Banana Republic. We are well aware how Government agents have been trailing Senior Chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya who has steadfastly opposed the incarceration of Hakainde Hichilema and we would therefore not be surprised that the PF is scheming to arrest him for expressing his views as a citizen. Considering the many threats from the likes of Mumbi Phiri against His Royal Highness Senior Chief Mukuni, there’s little doubt that Kampyongo is referring to him.”

Mumba warned that arresting Chief Mukuni would be fatal.

“We wish to warn Kampyongo that arresting Chief Mukuni would be a fatal mistake because it would underline a widely held view of the PF’s intention and vision of intimidating the Tonga people of the Southern Province. Citizens are aware how the PF has used ethnicity as a tool to divide them and set neighbour against neighbour. It’s not too long ago that a Mr Edwin Sakala appealed to the Chiefs of the Eastern Province to ostracise Tongas and drive them from the region. The Police have failed to arrest Mr Sakala todate because Government allows such intolerance and divisiveness in order to remain in power,” Mumba stated.

“Mr Kampyongo must be further advised that Chief Mukuni’s Chiefdom extends into Botswana and Zimbabwe and any attempt of harassing him would have international ramifications that would further degrade Zambia whose image is already headed for the dust bin of history.”

He further warned that Chief Mukuni’s arrest would worsen Zambia’s image.

“Chief Mukuni other than being a traditional Chief has a tremendous influence on international tourism of the Victoria falls which is in his Chiefdom. His arrest would immediately send a signal that doesn’t help the image of this Country especially at this hour where Zambia makes international headlines for all the wrong reasons,” Mumba said.

“We advise the PF to allow the citizens have a break from these self inflicted wounds that they are subjecting them to. Zambians are traumatised and hurting, enough is enough.”

Mumba observed that Zambians were now familiar with the PF’s preparatory statements before “hatching non existent offenses and lumping them on innocent citizens”.

“When the UPND President was about to be arrested on what has clearly become disgraceful trumped up charges of treason, citizens were treated to a series of statements from politicians that pointed out the intentions of this brutal Government. The political pronouncements were followed by rapid backup Police press releases from the Inspector General of Police and before we knew it, Hakainde Hichilema’s private home was raided by masked police throwing stun grenades armed with nerve gas,” stated Mumba.