By GIDEON NYENDWA and ADRIAN MWANZA
FORMER defence Minister, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, has slammed Panji Kaunda for criticising
President Edgar Lungu’s decision to deploy soldiers ahead of the August elections.
Mr Mwamba in an interview said that the comments attributed to Colonel Kaunda were unfortunate, considering the violence which had just transpired in the last few days, leading to the elections.
Col Kaunda was quoted as saying President Lungu should be punished by Zambians because deploying army personnel on the streets was abuse.
But Mr Mwamba said the head of state has intelligence information which forced him to act before the matter deteriorated into full-fledged anarchy.
‘’Really Panji should be sincere and really if he said these words then it is very disappointing because we have seen how violent the UPND has been reaching an extent of killing two people,’’ he said.
He said that Colonel Kaunda should emulate his late father who preached ‘One Zambia One Nation’ and did not consider people’s tribe.
Mr Mwamba said that politics come and go but that people should not lose lives for certain people fulfil their selfish agenda.
‘’How can a former soldier utter such things when the peace of the country is being threatened by people who want to push their selfish agenda, ’’ he said.
Mr Mwamba said the head of state was in order because he was looking out for millions of Zambians whose security was at risk.
And former Kabwe Central MP Tutwa Ngulube has also said it does not make sense for Col Kaunda to accuse President Edgar Lungu of abusing the Zambia Army when he had deployed them to protect the citizens from violence.
He said President had measures to protect the Zambians from the violence being spearheaded by the UPND, a party which Col Kaunda was associating himself with.
Mr Ngulube was reacting to sentiments in one of the tabloids attributed to Col Kaunda, suggesting that President Lungu had destroyed the police and was now destroying the defense forces by deploying them in the streets.
But Mr Ngulube said that the President was in order as the commander in chief of the armed forces to delegate his authority to protect his people when he saw that their lives were in danger.
“The president’s decision is in line with the mandate given to him by the constitution of Zambia,” he said.
Mr Ngulube expressed shock that Col Kaunda could exhibit ignorance over a security matter because this is not the first time the armed forces were being deployed.
“Why is he only talking now as if it’s a new thing to him,” he said.
He noted that the defense forces could be deployed whenever there was a disaster and what the president was protecting the lives of Zambia from the menacing UPND militia.
“Every life is precious regardless of the political party one is supporting,” he said.