In this audio, President Edgar Lungu says the Lusaka City Council and the Ministry of Local Government have gone to sleep.

Speaking when he toured Soweto Market where defence forces have began a cleaning operation today, President Lungu said the only way forward was to take some draconian measures by demolishing some unsanitary trading places for good.

“When we try to upgrade the markets, unplanned innovations come in and I think I must admit, there has been a failure in this respect and going forward, we need to just take draconian measures to ensure that we bring the situation to sanity. And hard decisions have to be made.
We have to eradicate and remove some people from their trading areas forever, of course and we have to remove unplanned structures, without compensation of course, so that we bring about proper drainage and also ensure that we get the right facilities for disposal of human waste and I think the council should own up, the Ministry of Local Government should own up, they have gone to sleep,” President Lungu said.

“They have allowed planned development to be overcome and captured by unplanned devices and structures. You can see its clogging throughout, there is no drainage and human waste is all over. We are all eating human waste here. So we just have to do what we agreed with the ministry of Local Government, Infrastructure and all of us to do just that, remove those unplanned structures, reclaim the drainage system and ensure that we don’t go down that path again.”

He said Lusaka Mayor Wilson Kalumba and his team, who had been in office for a year now, should have done something about the drainage system in the city.

“But for the future obviously, the planning part of the local authority should be questioned, where were there all this time? We have spent a lot of money in trying to bring modern markets but they are overcome and overwhelmed by unplanned structures on the road. It cannot be allowed to continue. Where is the inspectorate department? They have gone to sleep. So I think we can’t take this as business as usual, we have to take serious measures, we want to know, where is the local authority here in Lusaka? The Mayor and his team, they have been around for a year now, elections were in 2016, they should have woken up and done something about it,” he said.

President Lungu said he was heartbroken that some people would lose their livelihoods, but there was no other way.

“We are not afraid of inconveniencing people, a few damages will be done, losses will be there, some people will have to lose their livelihoods and income earning places in the process but we do hope that we rehabilitate them in better and sanitary situations. That’s all I can say, my heart just bleeds because when you see what I have seen today, it is not like human beings living here, trading here and this is where all our food comes from, the food we eat in Chawama, in Chelston, in Matero, it comes from here and if this whole place is contaminated in the manner that it is, how safe are we? I hope that our colleagues will work according to schedule, seven days or so, rehabilitate the place sufficiently to warrant continued trade but my prayer is that those who are affected please bear with us, we do not feel good about this but we have no choice,” said President Lungu.

Take a listen:

Earlier today, Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale ordered the demolition of Munyaule market.