UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo is trying to implicate him in the gassing in order to prevent him from participating in the 2021 general elections.

And Hichilema says he cannot be involved in the gassing of people because he has not live for State House, but has love for Zambians.

Speaking when he featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy, Monday, Hichilema said there was need for all Zambians to join hands and find a lasting solution to the gassing.

“If all of us had moved in Chingola without finding easy excuses to point a finger at the opposition, and generally when they say that, you can read who they are talking about. It is us. We are not responsible and we talked about it. What we needed in Chingola was the whole state machinery and not to find lame excuses. Probably, it may have not spread to the levels it is now. And if you ask me, today in the News Diggers, there is an article here reading ‘An opposition party causing confusion in the country-Kampyongo,” Hichilema said.

“This is a Minister of Home Affairs sending alarming messages, pointing fingers at innocent people. As a party [and] as a group, we are innocent people. [I know that] he is talking about UPND. Now, if you talk like this as Home Affairs Minister, you should be sitting and seriously planning of getting professional information as to who is gassing? Who are the criminals? What are they? How are they funding? You will lose sight of that work which you need to do if you start pointing at fingers at the opposition UPND or HH. How possible will anyone think or believe that UPND and HH can orchestrate a scheme like this?”

And Hichilema warned Kampyongo, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, and Vice-President Inonge Wina to be careful about the traps they were trying to lay against him.

“What was Kampyongo’s intention? What was Bowman Lusambo’s intention of saying that? What is Inonge Wina’s intention of talking like that on the floor of the House? It is to agitate the community. If you lay traps for other people who are innocent, you may get caught up in those traps. I am aware that there is a group scheming to point fingers at us. Lusambo if I remember he called me a cockroach to alert the nation about hunger. He later on said ‘let HH go and feed his cows in Southern Province.’ Honestly, he didn’t mean cows [but] he meant citizens,” he said.

Hichilema said PF should stop accusing him of rubbish because his only interest was to serve the Zambian people.

“And the initial comments of pointing fingers at UPND came from people like Lusambo. When Lusambo was addressing people on the Copperbelt, he said ‘I know who is doing all this, it is UPND and HH working with Seer 1.” That is irresponsible because it will incite people to settle old scores against each other. It will also bring economic stress to the citizens. They accused me of selling mines and I challenged them to say if you know that I sold any mine, come forward and until today, no one has come forth. Why were they talking about that? It’s because of malice and hatred against one individual, surely, who has not committed a crime? You keep on pushing rubbish and making him look bad in the eyes of the people. What crime have I committed? The only crime is because I am seeking leadership of this country. And that is not illegal because it’s in the constitution. Our laws allow us to compete for public office, not to go and steal but to go and serve,” he said.

He said Kampyongo and Vice-President Wina should be serious with solving Zambia’s problems instead of scheming to arrest him.

“He is the same Kampyongo who was on the floor of parliament a few days ago saying ‘we need to deal with this issue as a nation’ and I agreed with him. We in the UPND agreed with him and we quickly asked our information chairperson to respond to say ‘we are available to be part of the solution towards this crime’ and that’s what a normal society is doing. Then he goes to Shiwang’andu in his constituency and issues a contrary statement. Is he serious about this issue or not? Is he scheming to arrest people who are innocent as has happened in the past or not? I am saying that Kampyongo, get serious. I was listening to parliament where Vice-President Inonge Wina said ‘this crime is being committed by political parties that want a regime change and an early election’. We cannot be that cheap when the country is hurting,” Hichilema said.

Hichilema further said he has information that the gassing is a deliberate plot by the PF to block him from participating in the 2021 polls.

“I have heard some high ranking PF officials say that ‘we will never allow HH to be on the ballot in 2021,’ is this a scheme? I have heard others say that ‘HH will never enter State House.’ Is this a scheme to prevent HH from entering State House? HH has no love for State House, he only has love for the people of Zambia. And I believe that a lot of PF love this country. so let us work together and find a solution to this,” he said.

“There is an insinuation made that the UPND has agreed to dialogue in order to hide behind dialogue because they are the guilty party. This shows dysfunctionality in people’s heads. Dialogue will always be there in any civilised society. We will do everything possible to help end this crisis and this does not mean that we are guilty of something. We are all victims of this gassing. And I want to appeal to my colleagues in PF to invite skills from outside Zambia so that we can zero in on this criminal act of gassing.”

And Hichilema charged that a number of people had died at the hands of the police since the gassing began, wondering why Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja did not declare the figures.

“We also cannot sit and watch the police killing a number of people. Inspector-General of Police Kanganja talked about 43 deaths but he did not tell us the number of people who have been killed by the police. We need to know about that. And the community knows that there is no way a group like us would support criminality of that nature, never. What we are available for is to be part of the solution,” said Hichilema.

“We need serious leadership now than ever before to deal with this crime. We don’t need a Minister of Home Affairs who is in charge of the police to send wrong signals to the police that there is some excuse somewhere. They have caught some people. Let them take those people to court and let’s hear what those people are saying. Now is the time for all of us to provide dealership to pin this problem down. Let the citizens go to bed and sleep in their homes peacefully.”