President Rupiah Banda has expressed sadness at the loss of life in Mongu and has warned politicians against taking advantage of the Barotse Agreement debate to gain political mileage.
Speaking to journalists at City Airport yesterday before leaving for the Luapula MMD provincial conference, President Banda regretted the two deaths that occurred following last Friday’s protests in Mongu.
The president said it was wrong for some politicians to take advantage of the Barotse Agreement issue when such a matter was conclusively dealt with in 1964.
“It is sad that two lives had to be lost but may I caution here that politicians should not take advantage of the Barotse Agreement debate to advance their political ambitions. People should not fish in troubled waters,” Mr Banda said.
He said the violence in Mongu was uncalled for and assured that the Government would ensure it maintained peace in the area.
President Banda said it was the responsibility of the Government to ensure that Zambia remained together.
He said it was sad that some people in Mongu got carried away to engage in violence that left a trail of destruction to property.
“There was no need for throwing stones or breaking property when the police were there to maintain law and order. The police are on the ground right now talking to people there and urging them not to be violent,” President Banda said.
On Friday, two people among them a child were killed while several others sustained gunshot wounds in a confrontation between the police and advocates of the secession of Western Province.
More than 100 were arrested in connection with the protest and the Government warned that culprits risked being charged with treason.
And Kalulushi Patriotic Front (PF) MP Anson Simama and his Wusakile counterpart Barnabas Chella condemned politicians who were taking advantage of the Barotse Agreement to gain political mileage ahead of this year’s general elections.
The two Parliamentarians said in separate interviews after seeing off President Banda to Luapula that the violence in Mongu was uncalled for and culprits should face the law.
“The issue of the Barotse Agreement is a dead issue, it was dealt with at independence. It is sad that two lives were lost in Mongu but we urge people there to remain peaceful,” Mr Simama said.
Mr Chella said the Church and every peace-loving Zambians should condemn and speak against the Mongu violence.
“It is sad that some politicians want to gain political mileage out of the Barotse Agreement and President Banda must take charge and guard against falling into their trap because they just wanted to destabilise the Government.
Mr Chella said President Banda should remain on firm ground in protecting Zambia from any hooliganism.
He urged Mongu residents to remain peaceful and was happy that the Government had assured that peace would continue to prevail not only in Mongu but in Zambia as a whole.
Others that saw off the president were ministers of Defence, Kalombo Mwansa, Mkhondo Lungu for Home Affairs and other senior Government and party officials. Works and Supply Minister, Mike Mulongoti, Parliamentary Chief Whip Vernon Mwaanga and MMD chairperson Michael Mabenga accompanied the president.
[ Times of Zambia ]