Vice-President Inonge Wina says government has assigned the Zambia National Service (ZNS), and the Lusaka City Council (LCC) to rebuild the recently gutted City Market within a period of six weeks.
But local government minister Vincent Mwale says it’s impossible to rebuild the burnt Market with the designed expansion in less than 12 months.
The Vice president said this when she chaired a committee of Ministers appointed by the President following the fire incident.
“An alternative market site to be used while the rebuilding of city market is ongoing has been identified as Soweto market. The option of other possible sites remain open. City market will be rebuilt in 6 weeks and the exercise will be led by ZNS and in collaboration with LCC and the business community,” the Vice president said.
“A technical committee consisting government and city council technocrats and city market representatives will be created immediately. The technical committee will look into a recovery plan by mobilizing resources for relief for the affected marketeers and rehabilitation for the market.”
Wina also said that the bank account for the contributions towards the city market victims would be housed at the bank of Zambia for transparency reasons.
And Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president Sean Tembo said Wina’s committee was unnecessarily too large.
“We have noted that this committee is made up of more than ten Cabinet ministers, and is headed by her honor, the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia as well as more than 15 senior civil servants including permanent secretaries. Our observation is that the money that will be spent in paying allowances for these people as well as the lost productive time that these people will loose in focusing on this matter, will be very costly on to the entire nation. Such allowances could be used to alleviating poverty levels in this country,” Tembo said.
“This is a small matter which should have been handled by the Lusaka City Council and a committee of not more than four people constituted under the Lusaka City Council could have adequately attended to this matter. We believe that this is a miss prioritization of what is important to the nation as well as the significant and magnitude of what to really put on the agenda.”
Meanwhile, Mwale said the relocation of City Market traders could take up to six weeks, but the rebuilding of the Market was not possible in less than 12 months.
He was responding to a point of clarification raised in Parliament today after his ministerial statement contradicted what Vice-President Wina said yesterday.
“My statement Madam Speaker is meant to correct the information that was given yesterday on ZNBC news that rebuilding the market would take six weeks. The New market will accommodate the current number of traders by five fold. It may have four to five storeys… To do that, it will not be possible in less than 12 months,” said Mwale.
“Perhaps those who are saying six weeks are referring to the relocation of traders, because City Market has been closed to allow the ongoing investigations. People are not allowed to have access to the place, so to relocate them to the other Soweto Market may take at least six weeks depending on how fast the investigative wings conclude their investigations.”