By REBECCA MUSHOTA
THE University of Zambia (UNZA)’s Department of Psychiatry has said
that Zambia has been gripped by mass hysteria that is leading people
to form mobs that have so far claimed over 40 people and injured
dozens in the wake of criminals spraying poisonous chemicals in
Head of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at UNZA Ravi Paul said in
an interview the country had a case of mass hysteria as a result of
lack of answers that was driving people to fall for criminal elements
that were encouraging mob murders as a way to rid the nation of the
crime of gassing.
Dr Paul said it was unfortunate that a citizenry not known for such
violence had gone to violent levels of following suspects in health
institutions and beating them to death as well as burning them.
He said it was important that police and other authorities share
information immediately they have any on the chemical the criminals
were using and what people should do to protect inhaling that chemical
as well as how far the arrests of criminals had gone.
“It is mass hysteria that is leading people to kill others because of
unresolved issues about the spraying of this chemical that the public
is referring to as gassing,” Dr Paul said.
He said in the absence of cardinal information that would reinforce
confidence and protection, the citizens would be influenced in any
direction like so far the way they had been influenced by criminals
who were taking advantage to kill other people by inciting mob justice
Dr Paul said people were suffering from fear, traumatic disorders,
anxiety and panic.
He said it was even worse for children that have been witnessing the
beating and burning of suspects.
Dr Paul said most children that had observed the violent deaths of
suspects could suffer from social disorders as they were given a view
that they were unsafe in their own homes.
He said it was important for parents to protect their children from
witnessing such violent crimes.
Dr Paul said children did not have fully grown brains to comprehend
the issues surrounding gassing so drawing them into the mass hysteria
would have long term effects that would create an unstable society in