People’s Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda says it is commendable that President Edgar Lungu has decided to clean up the city but government must disclose its plans for the vendors and marketeers whose structures have been demolished.
On Sunday, President Lungu toured some markets in Lusaka, which defence forces have started cleaning on his orders, and noted that the city’s mayor was sleeping.
The Head of State said to draconian measures had to be taken if cholera was to be contained.
“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.
But in an interview, Banda observed that the PF had allowed street vending for too long in order to gain political mileage.
“We commend President Lungu for what he has done. As PAC we have in a long time mentioned that the Lusaka mayor, Wilson Kalumba has under performed. A lot of things that needs to be done to clean up the city does not need money. What the city of Lusaka needs is to come up with partnerships with a lot of corporate companies that operate in a number of these areas. But we have seen that that initiative has not been there. It had to take the Head of State to step in and do the cleaning exercise which is a good thing,” Banda said.
“But we must also remember that these street vendors did not come into the streets last year or after the 2016 elections, these street vendors have been there ever since the PF government came into power. If you recall, [late] President Micheal Chilufya Sata allowed these street vendors and we saw a lot unauthorized structures coming up. There was a structure called ‘donchi kubeba’ market near Kamwala, then came all these [structures] along Lumumba road, Cairo road and others. Therefore, this has been tolerated by the PF government for a long time. It actually started happening even before President Edgar Lungu became President.”
Banda challenged President Lungu to state his plan for the traders whose structures had been demolished.
“The mistake that the PF did was to allow this to continue to happen. They must be mindful that a lot of these people have been surviving through these illegal structures. Now, you wake up one day and demolish these structures, of course its a good thing to fight cholera, but you must also remember that you are the ones that made this to happen. The question that we have for PF, in as much as we support the cleaning exercise, what is the plan for the people that have been displaced in these illegal structures? Because these people have been feeding their families, have been taking their children to school, they have been surviving with what they have been doing. That’s why its important not to allow things to happen just for political mileage because a thousand people will be affected. Where will they be trading from? Where will they start from?” asked Banda.
“That’s why it’s important that government comes up with structures that are sustainable, structures that can empower people in a good way not structures that are there for political mileage. They allow illegality because they have an election, they want to look good and immediately after an election, they start demolishing structures. So we call upon the PF government to come up with empowerment structures that will help a lot of people and not just cadres. In as much as we commend them for what they did [cleaning exercise], they must also be aware that they are responsible for what has happened and they need to come up with a plan to feed all those marketeers that they have chased with illegal structures.”