DEFENCE Minister Davies Chama says there can never be civil unrest in Zambia if a criminal is arrested.

Commenting on renowned lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube’s (KBF) remarks that there would be unnecessary upheaval in the country if government moved in and arrested UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, Chama argued that government had no intention of arresting any opposition leader, but that no one was above the law.

“What I can say is that, it is a very unfortunate statement. No one should be above the law! Are you saying that certain people must be immune from criminal acts, then, if they are touched there will be civil unrest? There can never be civil unrest in the country when a criminal is arrested. No one is above the law, no one is immune to prosecution. We are not saying that anyone is planning to prosecute anyone, don’t misquote me. We are not in the business of prosecuting innocent people, but on one can be immune from prosecution,” Chama said in an interview.

“Such statements, it is like you are trying to threaten people that, ‘if you touch [this person] there will be civil unrest.’ There can never be civil unrest when a criminal is arrested. I want to emphasize, there can never be civil unrest if a criminal is arrested. So, I want to assure you that no one is above the law. If you commit a crime, you will be arrested and there can never be any civil arrest. You will be on your own. Anyone who commits a crime, you will be on your own. You will be in Chimbokaila alone! There should not insinuate that, ‘if that person is arrested, there will be civil unrest…’ in his own mind, KBF, there will be civil unrest.”

Chama recalled that Zambia had seen a number of prominent and powerful people being arrested in the past, including the first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, but the country never faced civil unrest.

“A lot of examples are bound in this country, people who have even held high offices of the land, former presidents have been arrested and have been prosecuted. There has never been civil unrest. Prominent people have been prosecuted. Even in our party, PF, when we were in opposition, our late president Sata, may his soul rest in peace, was arrested…was there any civil unrest in the country? So, there will be no such things as civil unrest because of an individual, who is a criminal, has been arrested, it will never happen in this country,” Chama said.

“Our founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, was persecuted and he even went to prison, was there any civil unrest? He had a big following, for your own information, but the people were patriots. They never imagined civil unrest because they loved this country so dearly. So, any person who loves this country cannot even start imagining or maybe that is what they are planning in their dark corners; that, ‘if you touch this one, there would be civil unrest,’ but nothing of that sort will happen, they will be sorted out, I can assure you.”

And he warned anyone wanting to cause unrest in the country to prepare to face the law.

“So, now, if you say a certain political figure is arrested then there will be civil unrest then those people are already preparing unrest. That is what is in their DNA. Their DNA is to cause civil unrest and to destabilise the country. I can assure you, anyone who wants to plan civil unrest will be met with the full force of the law and would be dealt with accordingly without fear or favour. No one is above the law. No one can be feared because they want to create a scenario in a country that some people are untouchable, if you touch them, there will be civil unrest, then what are you saying? I don’t want to insinuate anything unless a fellow criminal element wants to cover up for his fellow criminal elements to try to threaten,” said Chama.

“This government can never be threatened and no other government in the world can be threatened by any person. I can assure you. And if you try to imagine that there will be civil unrest, you want to implant in the Zambian people, you want to scare off those people who can be scared off, not PF. For me, I am talking for my government, we cannot be scared of an individual, whether he is a president of a political party, whether he is a leader of a political party, if he commits a crime, he will be dealt with according to the law. If people are planning civil unrest because of elections because of anything, they have a criminal nature, they will be dealt with accordingly. So, I want to warn those who are planning civil unrest that they will be dealt with and they will be arrested, and they will be on their own.”