Who is burning markets?

IT IS very sad that there are people out there who have no conscience and enjoy seeing others suffer.

Why would a normal person just set a trading place on fire and watch it burn the hopes and dreams of so many fellow citizens?

It is heart-breaking that yet again, Lusaka residents woke up to the shocking news that what had remained of the gutted Lusaka City Market, had also been burnt.

By who, is anyone’s guess. But according to Kanyama Member of Parliament, Elizabeth Phiri, arsonists are to blame for this tragedy that has reduced 500 stalls to ashes.

Is it by accident that it is the remaining part of the market that was targeted? We don’t think so. The whole thing seems to have been planned to have maximum impact in the destruction of property and merchandise.

Goods belonging to poor Zambians whose livelihood depends on the very stalls razed down in the inferno have been destroyed, effectively, shattering their hopes.

Sad as it may be, it would also appear that security at the market is not up to scratch. Apart from State police stationed there, there are also other security wings helping to guard the market. Was there lapse in security?

One thing is true, police should certainly up their game and get to the bottom of these rampant fires that have continued wreaking havoc in the nation.

While the nation appreciates the efforts by police in maintaining law and order in the country, the service definitely needs to be more proactive by preventing arsonists from committing acts of sabotage at will.

Given that these fires have been rampant, one would have thought police and other security wings had by now zeroed in on some clues to help them track down the masterminds of the malevolent acts.

Those setting the fires are only small fish, so it now remains with the police to track down the big fish sending the henchmen.

Under the prevailing polarised and partisan political atmosphere, it would be nonsensical and folly for anyone to believe the fires are triggered by electrical faults.

We can’t help but believe some heartless people are behind the fires, especially that the latest fire at the market, comes barely three weeks after the threatened state of public emergency declared by President Edgar Lungu came to an end.

The fire could not have been sparked by en electrical fault because there is no electricity or even trading in that part of the market.

Even mind-boggling is the fact that there is a police station right at the door-step of the destroyed market and better still, other security companies guarding properties in the vicinity are conspicuously visible around the area.

This can’t be allowed to go on because already thousands of traders in Lusaka as well as in other towns have had their hopes of making ends meet shattered by the fires.

In any case the part of the market which was destroyed by fire in July this year has not even been  rebuilt as the process of mobilising funds towards reconstruction was still in the process.

We therefore implore the government not to take this problem lying down but ensure that police with the help of other security wings do everything in their powers to put an end to these deliberate acts of sabotage.

As alluded to already, there is no doubt that these fires are connected to the polarised situation in the country following last year’s disputed Presidential results.

But whatever the case, it is morally wrong and evil for people to punish fellow Zambians unjustifiably. Dialogue as opposed to arson is the answer.

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