It has been very easy to climb on top of the mountain and proclaim that the declaration of a situation leading to a state of public emergency is dictatorial. But a closer look at the events leading to this action, to the less subjectively informed would have suggested that something needed to be done sooner or later.
For a long time incidences have been happening with no clarity on their nature whether they have been just careless acts of vandalism or acts of political intimidation meant to arm twist the powers that be to act in a manner pleasing to the alleged perpetrators.
A lot has been said about some damage and fire being natural acts. When fire sets out on a court room in Kanyama and Kabwe in similar fashion and also the same happens to educational offices in Kafue. Add to this the number of markets that have been torched with no arrests made but with a seemingly clear pattern of criminality, then someone has to think beyond it being just mere coincidences.
And to think of the mother of all disasters, at least in so far as this arson laced tale of City Market goes, then it becomes clear that someone had to act.
The acts of doing damage to Zesco pylons were just testimony of how daring the acts were getting.
The vandalism acts have been getting more daring by the passage of time with the suspected attempt to torch the Lusaka Central Prison being one such act. Are the authorities therefore to just standby and applaud the growing senselessness of these acts?
Did they expect that the authorities will wait until an attempt to torch State House is made before they could act? So what was the chief protector of this beautiful country we call home to do? Lie down and take the slaps!
Admittedly the law enforcement agencies have been less helpful. Had they cared to go about investigating these suspected crimes before a disaster of the blowing of City Market took place, there could have been no whispers of a prospective State of Emergency.
The action is also a warning to the law enforcement agencies to come up with something worth their title. But we pray that this does not turn into a witch hunt aimed at merely appeasing the commissioners of the situation likely to cause a state of public emergency.
It should be expected that in the spirit the proclamation was made to find the perpetrators of the alleged criminal acts the law enforcement agencies should deliver the goods.
Otherwise the whole situation leading up to state of public emergency would have been a sham. The citizenry would have been robbed of their precious freedoms for nothing. We all pray this chapter is buried and the alleged perpetrators caged.
Did anyone really expect the Head of State to be handing out medals for any reckless act reported around the country? While a heavy handed approach may not be the best idea, some action of some sort had to be taken.