Editor's Comment

Guard against enemy within

THE murder of former Lusaka Town Clerk Timothy Hakuyu in Gwembe on a ridiculous suspicion that he was on a gassing mission is evidence that the issue has really become serious.
These unsubstantiated ritual murders, which have chiefly been seen in the form of gassing, started as an isolated incident in Chingola, where residents began rioting because police were allegedly failing to deal with the problem. It later spread to Kitwe and Kalulushi, then North-Western Province and Lusaka.
As things stand now, it has become a countrywide problem as the perpetrators of the gassing have spared no province in the country.
While police have been reinforced by other security wings to track down the perpetrators, the major challenge so far has been the inability to explain the motive behind the gassing.
What seems certain, however, is that perpetrators of jungle justice are getting out of hand and must be reeled in.
Of more concern is that the attacks by these mobs is too similar to be coincidental. Their modus operandi points to nothing but killing even without any logic or justification.
While many people are justifiably concerned about insufficient security in their respective locals, it is odd that all of a sudden they have turned into killers.
It would be understood, though not necessarily justified, to be excessively aggressive against an intruder at your home, but many victims of the mobs are people innocently walking or driving on public roads.
What logic is there, for instance, in stopping a bus and killing its crew? What logic is there in killing anyone you do not know? What logic is there in burning down private structures and public ones on mere rumours? There is no sense at all.
The law-abiding citizens must, therefore, be cautious on how they go about protecting themselves and their properties. There are strong indications that criminals have blended into these well intended neighbourhood protection groups.
Unless these criminals are weeded out, there will be more families mourning the murders of their innocent members of the families. As it were, the greater danger now is the instant justice mob.
There could be a link between ring leaders of those gassing people and those leading the attacks on innocent people.
While pursuing gassers, police must arrest those leading or taking part in beating people to death. There is a readily available starting point of videos that are widely circulated. Some of the people mercilessly killing people are recogniSable. Pick them up.
If they are not the instigators of the murders, they should be answerable to their participation in the killing.
The same goes for the arsonists, especially those that participate in burning police posts and other public property such as ambulances and police vehicles.
If anything, even in their rage, the public should refuse to take part in destroying their own property, no matter what the circumstance. Agreeing to destroy a police post is merely falling in the hands of the scheme the criminals have.
They (the residents) will be vulnerable to more crimes when their areas are rid of the police. They will start crying and demanding for ‘boma iyanganepo’ (Government help) and yet they are now not protecting facilities that are built to protect them.
Time has come for the nation to unite, co-exist and face the real enemy.
If citizens unite, it would be easier for authorities to engage them and find solutions for the challenges that are upon the nation.
One cannot, and should not, tire at underscoring the fact that it is wrong to take the law into one’s own hands. No matter how dissatisfied you may be with the legal process, the law of the jungle begets chaos in which no-one wins.
As citizens may know, the people who are carrying out these heinous acts do not target victims on tribal lines or political party affiliation. Their target is the peace and stability of the nation.
Any citizen is now a potential victim, so unity is cardinal if Zambia is to collectively surmount this huge mountain that has sprouted in the midst of peace and civility.
Besides disturbing the peace and stability, gassing and mob injustice are also testing the character of the country as a Christian nation.
Christians are expected to be each other’s keeper. Love and patriotism should be at the core of this Christian nation.
Therefore, citizens should know that it will not take foreigners to come and remind them that only they can help and protect themselves.
All stakeholders – and that means all peace-loving Zambians – have to act as one to confront this challenge as a united front.

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