Antonio Mwanza says it is suspicious for President Edgar Lungu to conclude that the fire that swept through Lusaka City Market yesterday was an act of sabotage when police are still investigating the matter.

Antonio, who is Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) Spokesperson and Deputy National Secretary, told News Diggers! in an interview that it was disappointing for the President, the Vice-President and Ministers who visited the market yesterday to use the incident as a political tool against some imaginary people whom they were accusing of being behind the fires.

“What happened at City Market actually makes very sad reading because thousands of people have been affected directly in terms of their livelihood because those marketeers depend on those businesses to raise their families and to keep themselves and we want the police to get to the bottom of what really caused that fire and what has been going on in terms of all these so-called calamities. We want to know really what is the cause and if it is a man made issue then who is behind it? So we employ that the police really up their game and ensure that if it is a human made disaster, culprits are brought to book,” Mwanza said.

“One thing that just worries is that at a time like this we expect that our leaders to be very measured and very sober in their reactions, we don’t expect that our leaders will be alarmist and point fingers at people even when the police have not yet concluded their investigations. We were disappointed that His Excellency the President, the Vice-President and all the Ministers that went to City Market yesterday used that platform as a campaign platform against some imaginary people whom they think are causing these fires.”

He said it was suspicious for politicians to be making conclusions in the matter when they were not the investigating authorities.

“Actually it becomes very suspicious because our politicians are not investigators, the investigators are the police. So if the politicians who are not investigators have already rushed to conclusions, one wonders if there is something that they know which the police are not aware of. Do they have some information with regards to exactly what is going on which the police themselves don’t have? What we expect is that the police who are naturally supposed to be in charge of the investigations would have conducted their investigations and upon the release of their findings in terms of exactly what happened, then those authorities can use that to come up with measures depending on whether that was a manmade disaster or it was an accident. But to rush to conclusions before even the police do their work raises a lot suspicions as to really what is going on,” Mwanza said.

“This is an urge to use this as a pretext to clump down human rights and just bring a rule of dictatorship. They want to use this as a pretext to impose a state of emergency, it raises a lot of suspicion because if the police had given us there findings and then those statements were made after the police had made their findings and those findings had come out that the fire was caused by sabotage, then the President would be very much right to say the things that he said as well all other leaders including the Vice-President. But to say what they said before the police have given us there report raised a lot of suspicion as to really what is going on.”

Mwanza charged that it was a possibility that the state must have had a hand in the cause of the fires at City Market because they were too quick to conclude what caused it.

“It’s now in the hands of people to question whether there is any connection between the state and those fires because it’s like they are too quick to conclude even before the police have concluded there investigations. It’s like there is something they know which we don’t know so I think we beg answers from His Excellency the President and his Ministers who have been issuing statements to tell us exactly what is going on because it is like them they already know. And you know the police have even increased the award for anyone with information but I think there is absolutely no need for the police to do that, I think they can go to the President and his Ministers because they already know who the people doing those things are and that’s what they just told us when they said it’s sabotage,” said Mwanza.