CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
WHILE over 50,000 people may still be cursing the baboon for causing a blackout and social media is still abuzz with jokes, the disruptive creature, which is recovering from
the burns sustained during the episode, has a sympathiser.
The Lusaka Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) will not let anyone speak ill of the ape, at least not in the 21st century. And they mean business, not monkey business.
The society is deeply saddened by the hate speech directed towards the electrocuted monkey, which accidentally tampered with electricity installations, plunging about 50,000 customers in Livingstone and parts of Western Province into darkness.
The incident triggered a social media frenzy with some mockingly calling for the detention, or killing of the monkey.
“Let that baboon die. What he has done is a form of terror,” reads a Facebook comment posted by Izy Kafwala.
“I hope kuli [there is a] braii stand just in case it [baboon] dies so that we roast it in peace,” reads another comment by Hermann Kapepe Mindwit.
Another comment by Keith Cole reads: “Why wasting time to give it medicine? Let it die”.
Others sympathised with the monkey, which is a delicacy among some tribes in northern Zambia.
But LAWS chairperson Caroline Pearce will take none of that. She said as much as it is sad that the monkey’s actions led to a power blackout, it is unfair to call the animal names because it also has rights, and deserves sympathy.
Ms Pearce said in an interview on Monday that Zambians should show sympathy to both humans and other creatures like monkeys, which were equally created by God.
“Humans, especially those in a Christian nation like Zambia, need to treat animals with care, kindness and respect.
“Moreover, the monkey caused the blackout by mistake,” she said.
Ms Pearce said human beings should know that God created animals first and the creatures need space to move around the earth.
“We [human beings] are the ones who invaded the space for animals, and part of Livingstone is in a game park. We should learn to co-exist,” she said.
Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapata said the monkey tampered with the A station, B3 and B5 machines on the Zesco power sub-station on Sunday, cutting electricity to customers in parts of Western and Southern provinces.
The monkey, which luckily survived, but with injuries, was handed over to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, where it is receiving treatment.