I saw the mayor and I am very happy that he is now awake, President Edgar Lungu said Tuesday after visiting cholera patients at Heroes Stadium.
President Lungu also assured the traders that they would soon be allowed back in the markets once hygienic conditions had been met.
Hundreds of cholera patients are being treated at Heroes Stadium where three huge halls have been transformed into makeshift clinics; one for children, for women and men.
Speaking to journalists after his visit, President Lungu said he was happy Lusaka Mayor Wilson Kalumba was awake.
He also said government would prevent Cholera from breaking out next time.
“I think the Local government authority, and I saw the mayor, and I am very happy that he is now awake and we are going to make sure that we are on our toes and we don’t allow anyone to slip back into the old order. Because what has happened is complacency, we had gone back to sleep, thinking it is okay, when there is an outbreak that is when we want to fight and the fire fighting will not be allowed, we will prevent this fire going forward,” President Lungu said.
And President Lungu assured traders that the situation would soon go back to normal adding that their activities would be regulated.
“The traders should be reminded that we will be opening up slowly and systematically the various places where they have been trading but this will be regulated and we will ensure that we conform to the requirements standard for hygiene, toilets, we have to make sure that there is waste disposal within the prescribed norms, clean water and so on,” he said.
President Lungu further assured Zambians that the cholera epidemic would be contained.
“The measures that have been put in place clearly show that we are in control and we will manage to contain the disease but in the long run, we have to take long lasting measures such as provision of clean and safe drinking water for our people where ever they may be. And this is a challenge actually not only for Zambia but for the whole African continent but we cannot begin comparing problems between countries. Zambia has a government in place and our role will be to provide that which is basic and necessary for our people. You can tell from the people that its contaminated water that they have been drinking and also poor management of waste disposal and so on. There is a relationship between fiscal matter disposal and the water that we drink and these two contaminate each other, it goes on and on,” said President Lungu.
“So in the long term, I think that we have a duty as government to provide safe and clean drinking water for our people where ever they may be and then this can only be done with proper planning and sitting down to say ‘what lessons have we learnt from this epidemic?’ and its not the first time you see in 1991 we lost about 500 people, I was there myself and there was a mass grave. And I think this disease has been on and off but we need to find lasting measures and one of the immediate one is to provide safe, clean drinking water, teach our people the need to manage waste properly and make it a way of life…So we will contain the cholera outbreak.”