THE Zambia Army says citizens are free to cast their vote without any intimidation, promising that the military has not been deployed to beat people who are law-abiding.
In an interview, Zambia Army Director General for Civil Military Affairs Brigadier General Genoh Muke assured citizens that no one would be beaten without any reason.
“These killings are not good, we will go into some situations where we will be unable to control it. So the earlier, the better to ensure that there is peace. Who has ever been beaten without any reason? I don’t know why people think like that. This is our country, all of us and we need to safeguard ourselves. The problem which is there is that people have got preconceived ideas. When the President said ‘we are going to deploy the army’, it is because he has seen what is happening. There is no way he can just let people start being killed or killing each other and he is just looking. So he acted and he wants to stop more people from being killed,” Brigadier General Muke said.
“So we are not biased, we are looking at the Zambian people. There is no one who is going to be beaten as long as they maintain what they are supposed to do, they are supposed to ensure that they follow the law. We are there to ensure that no government or personal property will be destroyed by anyone because others take advantage of the situation and start destroying things that people have worked for. Even what the government has worked for. So anyone who goes beyond, when you know that this is wrong and you do it, you will be arrested. If you are a law-abiding citizen, why should you be beaten?”
He said people were supposed to be happy that the army had been deployed to safeguard the nation.
“The assurance is that we are not there to start beating people who are law-abiding citizens but those who are killing others, definitely they will be arrested if they are caught. So let them be assured that it is a people’s army. We are there to safeguard the nation and the population. People are supposed to be happy that now we are free because no one will intimidate us because there are people to protect us. People are free to go and vote, to exercise their rights without intimidation by anyone. The army is there to protect every citizen. But that is only law-abiding citizens, not those who take the law in their own hands. If people want to take the law in their hands, then there will be a problem,” said Brigadier General Muke.
On Sunday, President Edgar Lungu said he had allowed the Zambia Army and other defence forces to work with the police in maintaining law and order as the country approaches the elections.
Speaking in Mbala when he met chiefs Penza, Kowa, Zombezi and Mfwambo, President Lungu said the security forces were allowed to help the police to ensure that the electoral process was successfully concluded.
“What happened in the last 24 or 48 hours is not good. So, I have allowed other wings of the defence force to join the police in maintaining law and order where we have experienced violence. I know Lusaka, as you are aware the loss of those two lives and the injury of many other people is not something to take lightly. So, I have allowed the army, the defence force, generally, the Air Force, the ZNS and whosoever is involved to partner with the police and ensure that there is law and order between now and voting and beyond. So, if you see soldiers are moving, it is not war, they are preventing war. So, they have been deployed in some hot spot areas and they are firmly working there with the police,” said President Lungu.