Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya has refused to drag the name of United Party for National Development(UPND) strongman Hakainde Hichilema in the on-going gassing of innocent citizens that started in Chingola, Copperbelt now spreading its tentacles to the rest of the country.
And Siliya has disowned political elements claiming to be surrogates of the Patriotic Front(PF) whose agenda is to incriminate President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s political rivals.
And Mr. Hichilema has cried foul that he was the first Zambian to be gassed in the house when a gang of policemen and women fished him out of his New Kasama mansion in a James Bond style.
PF propaganda machine, including the surrogates of the President are up in arms accusing Mr. Hichilema as being a masterminder behind the gassing of residents that started first in Chingola and now spreading across the country, instilling the spirit of fear in the Zambian people.
Sponsored press briefing have been held where unsubstantiated claims have been made that Hakainde Hichilema is behind the gassing of people in the country in what they termed as his thirst for regime change.
Some of the people on record accusing the UPND strongman of gassing Zambians are former MMD diehard and now PF Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo, Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo, social media fanatic Chilufya Tayali, PF Deputy Mobilisation Chairman Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba commonly known as GBM, Chief PF Propagandist Sunday Chanda, Wright Musona and his team from the so-called Consortium of Politicians and Civil rights and Religious groups among others.
But appearing on a special Prime Television interview, Ms. Siliya who looked composed said the ongoing gassing has nothing to do with either the PF, UPND or any other political party, saying it is a machination of well organized criminal elements.
The Chief Government Spokesperson said political connection should be eliminated from the ongoing gassing of resident, saying there is no evidence to suggest that any political leader is involved.
She described Zambia as a peaceful country which is under attack by a few criminals.
“These are criminals…it has nothing to do with politics,” Ms. Siliya said, “Let us remove politics out of this. Politicians like President Lungu, president HH or president Sakala are in the competition of getting votes and there is no way that they can harm people they are supposed to serve and protect,” Ms. Siliya said.
Asked why Government does not regulate pro-PF political from holding Press Conference where they are seen to scandalize President Lungu’s opponents, the Petauke Central Member of Parliament said Government does not stop anyone from holding press briefing but that it is the onus of the media to give blackout to politicians who are not providing evidence to support their allegations.
“Look at what you are saying, you want Government to start regulating the media. It is not possible for Government to regulate press briefings. In this era of advanced technology some one can be in the bedroom and holding a press briefing. Therefore, it is up to the media to scrutinize these people. Ask them if they have evidence to support the allegations they are making? If they say they don’t have, then don’t cover them,” she bluntly advised.
And Hichilema insisted that the UPND has no hand in the gassing of residents, saying there is no way the UPND can harm the very people it seeks to serve.
He recalled the trauma his family went through when the Zambia Police Service invaded his house in the James Bond style and gassed the basement where he had taken refugee.
“I have a family, wife and children and they were there when the police gassed me in my house…Actually, I was the first Zambian to be gassed,” Hichilema complained.
He complained that the gassing of innocent civilians is the worst thing he has heard of in his entire life that spans over 50 years.
Mr. Hichilema said the gassing of people could not have accelerated to these levels if the Zambia Police Service had taken serious consideration into what the opposition was telling them when the gassing situation was first reported in Chingola, Copperbelt Province.
“…They even arrested Pastor Kazhila who had organized prayers for the inhuman gassing of residents…they arrested him…even us as UPND we spoke about it but the police chose to ignore us,” Mr. Hichilema emphasized.
He condemned mob justice against the suspected gassers and police brutal killing of rioters, saying there is need to deal with the parent offence which is gassing of residents.
And Mr. Hichilema threw savor on Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo’s remark that the opposition are causing confusion in one of the daily tabloids.
“It is statement like this (Kampongo’s statement) that are bringing confusion and anarchy in the country,” the UPND torchbearer stressed.
As a proverbial son of a prophet is not appreciated in his own country, Hichilema complained that since joining politics in late 2005, he has succumbed to hate speech which he regrets is aimed at pouring mud on his hard earned achievement as a successful businessman.
“When the issue of Lower Zambezi popped up, they accused me of selling Lower Zambezi but how can an ordinary citizen sell a Government property. They accused me of selling mines but I have said anyone with evidence that I sold mines should report me to the police but till now no one has taken me to the police. They brought the issue of ethnicity (that Hichilema promotes tribalism) and now they are accusing us of gassing all because we are seeking leadership yet seeking leadership is not an offence,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema said the police should come up with solutions to end the gassing that is adversely affecting every Zambian including the UPND instead of pointing at the UPND as perpetrators of these heinous crimes.