UNKNOWN people on Monday burnt down a makeshift deport at Lusaka’s Katambalala market in Bauleni Compound, police say.
But Zambia’s ruling party, the Patriotic Front is blaming the UPND for the fire.
Meanwhile, sources in government have disclosed that president Edgar Lungu plans to declare a State of Emergency and have UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema arrested.
Confirming the incident in a statement yesterday, Rae Hamonga, the police spokesperson, stated that the value of the destroyed goods had not yet been ascertained.
“We received a report from Miriam Mumba aged 33 years, of a named house number in Bauleni compound who reported that unknown persons set ablaze her grass fence and later they went to set ablaze the make shift deport used by marketers to keep their goods at Katambalala market in Bauleni compound,” Hamonga stated.
“The incident occurred today 23rd August, 2016 at around 01:00 hours. The value of the properties burnt is yet to be ascertained as owners are still reporting the values of the properties that were burnt. Police officers visited the scene and discovered four bottles, which are suspected to have contained sand and petrol. All the bottles have since been picked for examination. Investigations are ongoing. We would like to warn members of the public that as police, we will not leave any stone unturned in investigating these fire incidents. Whoever will be found wanting will be dealt with according to the law.”
But the PF is accusing UPND supporters of having started the fires.
At a media briefing yesterday, PF secretary general Davies Chama accused the UPND of wanting to cause havoc across the country.
“Against this background, we wish to warn Mr Hichilema and his friends in UPND to stop inciting violence because the law will catch up with them. We are aware of their plans to extend their violence beyond their strongholds, including burning markets along the line of rail. They will not succeed,” said Chama.
President Edgar Lungu later visited the market to console the victims.
Sources within PF said President Lungu intends to declare a State of Emergency and order the arrest of Hichilema.
“These violent schemes are deliberate. They are well coordinated by PF because we hear that the President is supposed to declare a State of Emergency any time soon and immediately order the arrest of HH,” said a source.
“That is why you see the PF blaming all the violence on UPND and the party SG (Chama) is warning that the law will visit HH. That’s what is going on. A number of people have been mobilised to push this propaganda of the violence which PF are creating themselves and then blame it on UPND. And us in these law enforcement agencies are being put in awkward positions because we know what is going on.”