TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says political party cadres are not stakeholders in the transport sector and should therefore have no role to play in running bus stations.

Recently, there have been reports of alleged PF cadres who have been harassing bus drivers by collecting ‘gratuity’ at various bus stops across the city.

The cadres are said to be beating up the drivers who are resisting to pay the exorbitant amounts.

One driver who tried to report such an assault case lamented that he was sent back by officers at Kanyama Police post who instead directed him to report the matter to the PF secretariat.

But during the end of year media briefing last week, PF Lusaka Province chairman Paul Moonga warned that indiscipline would not be condoned as the country heads to the polls next year.

Moonga told youths to desist from extorting money from bus operators in bus stations and bus stops as well as harassing motorists and other road users whenever they had funeral processions as this reflected badly to the people and showed lack of respect.

Commenting on this in an interview, Kafwaya said cadres should have no role to play in manning bus stations.

“We feel there are unruly people who take advantage of political situations, [they] are just criminals. The cadres have got nothing to do with transport business. Our transport stakeholders are bus owners, truck owners, bus drivers, truck drivers and so on and so forth. Those are our stakeholders, cadres are not stakeholders in the sector so they should have nothing to do with what goes on. And the bus stops where we load and offload people don’t belong to cadres, they belong to the council, they belong to the Ministry of Local Government. So I don’t see where cadres should come in,” he said.

“By the way I am also a cadre. I am a political cadre but outside of my job as Minister of Transport and Communications, I have got nothing to do with the business of transport, my only connection is that I am privileged to be Minister of Transport, that is my only connection and when I go to the bus stop to talk to drivers, I am going to talk to them purely because I am their minister and that’s all. So if a political cadre goes to a station, for example here in Monze, just go and board a bus or disembark, that’s it. When you are a UPND political cadre, just board a bus and disembark, government has provided a station for you to board and disembark that’s all, what else do you want? It’s the same for areas where PF is stronger than UPND, if you are a political cadre, just use those facilities to board and disembark, it’s as simple as that.”

He said anybody who engages in illegality must be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“And if somebody engages in illegality and claims to be a political cadre, deal with them, they should be dealt with by the law the same way any other person should be dealt with because we are all equal before the law,” said Kafwaya.