By Francis Maingaila
LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) - Zambian President Edgar Lungu said Thursday he would not hesitate to declare an emergency rule unless people stopped damaging public property as a way of rebelling against his leadership.
Lungu told journalists in the tourist capital, Livingstone, that lately some people had been deliberately setting fire to public buildings housing government officers.
"If these acts of sabotage continue, I will not hesitate to declare a state of emergency and have all those people setting public building on fire arrested.
"If these people think I am joking, let them dare me and continue setting public buildings on fire," the president warned.
The president was reacting to an outbreak of mysterious fires targeting government buildings. Over the last weekend alone, not only 120 market stalls got burnt in Lusaka but also five court buildings across the country and one hostel at Chalimbana University in Chongwe were set ablaze.
The latest building to catch fire was a court building earlier on Thursday in Mongu, the provincial capital of western Zambia.
The police suspect the fires were deliberately started by unknown people to cause panic and alarm in the country.
Inspector General of Police Kanganja Kakoma told journalists over the weekend that the police were investigating the cause of the fires.
"We want to establish the motive people have of setting public buildings on fire," he said.