National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Steve Nyirenda says the riots which have rocked some parts of the country are an effect of a wrecked economy, and should therefore not be unfairly blamed on preachers.

On Tuesday, President Edgar Lungu said the violence that had rocked Copperbelt Province had been exacerbated by fear-mongering and superstition from a small group of preachers.

“Lately, here in Zambia, we have witnessed a growing and worrying trend of men of God getting embroiled in partisan politics. Also of concern is a new movement of deceptive preachermen, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who at best help to plant seeds of discord in the country with their strange practices. Arguably, the situation in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia has to a larger extent been exacerbated by fear-mongering and superstition coming from this new group of preachers,” said President Lungu.

But commenting on this in an interview, Nyirenda said the situation in Zambia was volatile because people were hungry.

“The situation in the country is volatile and the reason is simple; people are suffering. Even those that are working, it is very difficult for them to make ends meet, it has hit all of us. I think the president himself is in a problems. If he is unable to pay the civil service on time, he is also suffering. It has nothing to do with pastors, no. It is a fact the economy has been wrecked because of poor management systems,” Nyirenda said.

“The solutions is to redesign our postion. Zambia has enough resources to put its people in proper positions and make sure that everybody has a fair share. But in the absence of proper management and focus on what we need to do, it will continue like this.”

Nyirenda said he was not against foreigners but that it was a fact that they were taking the countries’ resources.

“People say I am against the foreigners, I am not against them. But they are taking the money out and they are taking the materials out and leave us in poverty and that is a fact. Look at the copper that is driving out of the country everyday. What do we have? Nothing! Look at these big shops like Shoprite, they are remitting money to South Africa and Mauritius three times in a day yet those are our resources. This problem that we have is for all of us so let us sit around the table and find solutions instead of fighting. Whilst we are fighting, the foreigners are taking everything out of the country,” said Nyirenda.