The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has urged President Edgar Lungu and Vice-President Inonge Wina to stop insinuating that the Lusaka City Market fire was an act of sabotage and allow law enforcement to thoroughly investigate the matter.

In a statement today, LAZ president Linda Kasonde cautioned government to use provisions of the law in exercising its powers in pursuing anyone who might be involved in causing the fires.

“LAZ has noted statements in the media attributed to the Republican President Mr Edgar Lung and the Republican Vice-President Mrs Inonge Wina calling for the punishment of the people that caused the fire. Whilst we appreciate that this is an emotive issue, LAZ urges the government to exercise restraint until the matter is fully and thoroughly investigated so that the cause of the fire can properly be determined. LAZ cautions that any powers exercised by the government in pursuing anyone alleged to be involved in causing the fire must be used within the limits provided by the Zambian Constitution. LAZ further cautions the public against speculating as to who caused the fire and what their motives were at this early stage. All citizens are guaranteed the protection of the Bill of Rights as provided by the Republican Constitution and such rights should never be abrogated as to do so would defeat the ends of democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law in Zambia,” stated LAZ.

LAZ said it was deeply saddened by the fire.

“The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) is deeply saddened by yesterday’s fire at Lusaka City Market. The fire that consumed the property of defenseless, ordinary Zambian citizens is deeply regretted, especially in light of the fact that the destroyed property was the only source of livelihood for many of the victims of the fire. LAZ commiserates with the victims and calls upon the law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the matter and, if indeed the fire was an act of arson, bring the perpetrators to book in the shortest possible time,” stated LAZ.