Lungu invokes emergency powers in Zambia after market blaze

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA (REUTERS) – President Edgar Lungu said on Thursday (July 6) he had invoked emergency powers in Zambia to deal with acts of sabotage by the opposition, after fire gutted the country’s biggest market.

The main opposition party said Lungu’s use of emergency powers was unnecessary and that it was a ploy to make it easier for police to arrest opposition supporters.

Lungu said the measure in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer would safeguard investments in the country, but if the International Monetary Fund found the emergency powers to be ill-advised, it was free to terminate talks meant to provide financial assistance to Zambia.

Lungu said that the state of emergency is only for seven days, a day after saying that the fire in the capital was politically motivated arson. He also added that the powers would not disrupt normal life, but were aimed at those who posed a danger to public security.