Esther Katongo
Esther Katongo

THE Zambia Police Service says it highly suspects that the fire which destroyed goods at Lusaka City Market on Tuesday could have been caused by someone who understands the security system of the trading place well.

Police spokesperson Esther Katongo said it is strange that the fire started barely 10 minutes after the paramilitary officers who were patrolling the infrastructure in the night left.

She said the perpetrator could be one who knows that there are usually a few people in the market at the time the officers leave and understands that it is not possible to ignite fire when security is tighter.

Ms Katongo said this when she featured on the Hot Seat programme on Hot FM Radio yesterday.

“There is an agreed-upon procedure on how they do their work at night in the market, and before the security for the local authority knocks off, they hand over to the police. So, even early in the morning, our officers do a check before opening it to the public, and this was done, only to be called 10 minutes later that there was a fire,” she said.

Ms Katongo said Zambia Police officers and Zesco staff as well as fire experts from the local authority are currently on the ground trying to establish the cause of the fire.

“With what has been happening in the country, any sane person would be quick to say that there is something wrong somewhere,” she said.

Ms Katongo said it is rare that a person who has caused a fire can be found immediately, which is why the police is offering the K500,000 to members of the public with information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrator.

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52 COMMENTS

    • This is the highest degree of incompetence where a ranking police officer is making *****ic statements trying to insinuate sabotage by “human intervention!” Zambian investigative wings are just dull and take the easy route where failure is clearly loud! I fear for innocents being victims of something they neither know anything about nor have a hand in! How can a statement seemingly backing what polarized politicians are hallucinating be made and trying to fish an excuse for inept police detailed to monitor the premises?

      By the way unless the market was doused in flammable liquid there is no way fire engulfs a structure reducing it into ash rubble within a very short time!

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    • flag Mwebena Zambia mwaliwama, nomba pantu mukonkuluda, chakuti mwipushe elo mwishibe, ichikulu mwaikovinsa

      Kikiki mwata katongo, ok the “local authority security pf cadres” handover to the police before knocking off at night, why did you police do like wise in the morning handover to the” local authority security “? And when the police knock off it practically means the place is open to the public, don’t you think maybe one of the publicans messed with the electricals, looking at how city market was littered with various electrical appliances.

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    • If you went to any market in Zambia, especially Lusaka, you will be amazed at the bush work with electrical wiring. You will find electrical cables everywhere, overloaded with very poor wiring. The onus is on Zesco and local councils to start inspecting such facilities in order to protect loss of lives in future.

      Lastly, the police spokes person should just zip it. The ZP and PF have failed the Zambia people in so many things. Maybe ZP should be replaced by the Zambia National Service (ZNS) because of the calibre of personnel employed by ZNS.

      God bless Zambia.

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    • Its amazing the level of naivete and probably stupidity – A state of Emergency has been declared because a few policemen and the IG have failed to do their jobs .

      The declaration of the state of emergency will not make the Police more efficient. I thought the first people to be arrested should the officers who were on duty that night, but the IG sees things different.

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    • “City Market Fire Started 10 minutes after Police Officer in Charge had Knocked off”
      MEANING THERE WAS NO HAND-OVER TO ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER? DO NOT DEFEND THE INDIFENCIBLE. POLICE IN ZAMBIA ARE JUST UNPROFESSIONAL AND UN-PROACTIVE. HOW MANY MARKETS HAVE THE UPND TO BURN BEFORE BEFORE THE HEAD OF POLICE REALISES OR ANYONE EVEN A POLICE CONSTABLE REALISES THAT THESE FIRES AREN’T MERE COINCIDENCES BUT PRE-MEDITATED?

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    • @ Peter, you almost fooled me their with the opening statement, and then you predictably digress to your usual UPND trolling.
      This crises is as a result of gross pf incompetence, it’s all staged to blame the opposition and then have them incarcerated, it’s an evil scheme by Pf.
      Generally this is not good for our country by all means.

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    • @ Peter, you almost misled me on your intelligence their with your opening statement, and then you predictably digress to your usual UPND trolling.
      This crises is as a result of gross pf incompetence, it’s all staged to blame the opposition and then have them incarcerated, it’s an evil scheme by Pf.
      Generally this is not good for our country by all means.

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  1. Ikalenifye imwe. The country has moved on. The President addressed the country and a committee is already in place to help the victims. Just keep your lies to yourself. We are not going back to pointing fingers at each other. You failed to do your job and don’t waste people’s time with excuses. That stage you’re talking about is behind us. We’re talking about rebuilding now. Don’t take us back.

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    • Atiii the President, you mean that Mafiaso meno meno….atasee!

      Zambians are so naive, so you can’t see that these PF crooks are playing fast ones on you-these are some of the lectures your man received from the hardcore M7 in Kampala recently, on how to perfectly declare a State of Emergency-put blame on the opposition over planned fires1

      PF crooks 4 : Zambians 0

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    • You say the President has already addressed the nation and a committee is set up to help the victims, do you understand the cost implication being passed to the tax payers? Prevention is always better than cure.

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  2. Suppose it is a disgruntled marketer who has a grudge against another marketer. Many were illegally sub letting stalls. Why has Lungu concluded that it the opposition because they do not recognise him? Now the police are admitting that the perpetrators will never be found. Astonishing!

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  3. Is that the full investigation report or what? Is it possible that it could also be something (e.g. Short circuit) as opposed to “somebody”? Just asking.

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  4. Security are doing handovers then someone sets a fire? Let’s be serious!!!! What kind of arsonist is that. She should just say they don’t know instead of spreading rumours!!!!

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  5. K500 000 is a lot of money to pay out all who lost goods in the infernal. Just team up and frame a upnd zealot and prove that he did it and get that mula. That upnd cadre will later reveal the master minders and mukuni and Mutinta will be in the story.

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    • Ita a lie-they do not even pay the money, when you go to them and disclose, you end up being thrown into their sticky cells for months and months yourself as a suspect. This is a finished country!

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  6. How Come The Night Shift Police Left They Market Before Their Morning Friends Came In? This Is Shocking!!!

    And Lungu Now Is Busy Finger Pointing And Connecting The Matter To Politics Without Hearing Anythin From Investigations.

    Why Is It That If Anythin In The Country Happens Then We Conclude It To Have A Political Cause?
    This Kind Of Thinking Is Pathetic!!!

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    • Ama Zambians bakonkuluda fye! However there are also analytical minds that think asking very pertinent questions for investigation!

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    • flag Mwebena Zambia mwaliwama, nomba pantu mukonkuluda, chakuti mwipushe elo mwishibe, ichikulu mwaikovinsa

      Danny kaya should do a remix of mwebena Zambia pantu mukonkuluda, i really don’t understand why Zambia police has all of sudden become fire experts, is it not the duty of the fire department to be informing the nation on such matters.

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  7. Some people will get rich through these unfortunate situations. K500, 000 for a correct tip? Now that’s a life changer!

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  8. Confusingly police statements are not making any meaning more like shielding officers who were manning the market at a time the fire started.So instead of wasting time accusing the opposition and other innocent people the prime suspects the police should pursue are the officers who were duty full stop mubekatishe balondolole bwino

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  9. Our police and the prez are lazy. Rushing to conclude that it’s politics and paying pipo is easier than investigating teh? The British police could use your fast thinking in sorting out their fire case.

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    • this sounds like a setup. Bo Inonge was already blaming the opposition. I think they were looking for a reason to impose a state of emergency. Or it could have been a plan by people who took loans and could not pay back; all this finger pointing is making the country so unsafe; police please do your investigations thoroughly so we can all breathe

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  10. Here’s a tip.. Even in a murder case first suspect is the spouse. So here let’s substitute with someone close . This was an inside job.so interview the police who guard that place, and the owners of the stole even the hawkers who are found around there. To my side .. This could take like 6 months to a year. Manje pa zed awe sure problem story iwama Che ngati yachoka.. And those large payments being promised to them now is a bad idea. Too soon !! Won’t other markets do the same in order to make a quick buck?

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  11. These security agencies of Zambia only excell at following HH , cancelling opposition rallies and looking on while PF Thugs attack people…….they are useless and should be called PF police.

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  12. Of course the pf cadre police officer left 10 minutes before her contracted shift. Unless by knock off u mean knocking one off which is wanking or masterbating. Lazy monkeys burn lungu

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    • NEZ , your f00l is rotting in jail with this cold and all you know is to insult. NO WONDER MUKOBEKO IS A GOOD PLACE FOR YOU CHAPS

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  13. That’s why I said the police who were on duty that night and the cleaners must be questioned in this matter

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  14. stop finger pointing BA katongo just investigate any thing is possible zesco power can cause that unwanted damage to the marketeers

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  15. This is highly likely to a Zesco electrical fault becoz the fire started soon after Zesco power was switched on and becoz of the Electrical cables the fire quickly spread. It is politically convenient to blame UPND for the fire. So from his cell in Chikombaila Remand Prison HH started the fire? Chief Mukuni from far away started the fire thru remote control? This is just Political Witch Hunting. The first suspects should be the Security Personnel who guard the Market, City Marketing Management and Workers and the PF Commandos who guard the Market.Leave HH and UPND out of this Arson attack

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  16. We all know this is these are the same “Black Mamba” political gymnastics Mwila Ben concocted to have UNIP leaders arrested. Only these things always backfire on the initiators. There is no way Zambians shall agree to live under a stinking state of emergency ever again. Soon and very soon, Chagwa a zagwa!

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  17. In fact the perpetrator who started the fire is the Police spokes person Ms. Katongo herself..So give me the K500,000 now…

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  18. It also possible that the police officers can broke shops and stole money and started a fire. They ruthlessly broke into HHs home and got away with it.

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  19. Reminds me of Emperor Nero who burnt Rome and blamed it on the Christians. The rise of every dictator in history follows the same pattern. Find scapegoats to blame for anything and inflame passions of hate! Jesus suffered the same fate. He was accused of being popular than the rulers of his time (Triumphant Entry). Nothing new under the Sun!

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  20. The Police should do their job of investigating the cause of fire and give the country a report. However, it is common knowledge to know that it will be very difficult for officers to give the Nation a conclusive report if the cause of fire has nothing to do with politics.
    It is wrong for politicians to issue statements and this political culture of making conclusion before any investigations will cost us a lot and is making our officers rubber stamps!!

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  21. Esther Katongo – just get us the “specialist report” so we confirm what our dearest Veep and Presidento said on tv – and applaud them for their “state of emergency” fires.

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  22. We hope this City market fire report will not hang in suspense like Gabon Air disaster report.

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  23. Lungu is on record saying ZESCO have investigated and ruled out power outage as a cause. Now his own policewoman constable says ZESCO are still investigating. Now, who is telling the truth?

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  24. Don’t forget that the PFolice is infiltrated by PF cadres, hence the inconsistencies in statements and false accusations. I feel for Officers and other Govt officials who still want to be professional in their work but the external forces won’t allow. Results – total confusion!!!

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  25. It does not add up!!! 10 minutes after the police left? Why did it take the fire services that long to deal with the fire? If we assume that the fire started 10mins later, why did it spread so fast? Best to wait for the forensics to conclude the genesis of this. Point being zip your mouth iwe police 1d10t that waits for instructions of what to say and when instead of being professional!

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  26. A shift change over happens instantaneously so the issue of 10 minutes is irrelevant. The Night shift officers had done their work it was up to the day shift officers to work exemplary. Looks like the police are covering themselves up

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  27. The emphasis is on the criminals that burnt the market down affecting the livelihoods of innocent poor people. We can’t start apportioning fault to Police. If you can’t leave a market safe for 10 minutes without Police eyes then there is something wrong with Zambian mentality. Citizens should be law abiding and not destroy property of their fellow citizens who also toil under this gov’t. Where is the gain here? Maybe next time they should try to burn the parliament building down if they are brave, instead of the cowardly act that affects none of their targets. Another way this could go, is for citizens of other party’s going out in a rage to burn the Homes of UPND members. Let’s see the smirks on their faces.

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  28. Pantu mulandafye ukwabula uku concludaaaa! What does this fact bring to the table? Zp without intelligence. I don’t think the investigation will go anywhere

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  29. Who has ever heard of an arsonist waiting for security handovers in the morning when people are beginning to arrive to set a fire. These kinds of stories are meant for cadres and the uneducated!!!! Total hogwash!!!

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