United Progressive People president Saviour Chishimba has threatened to be sleeping at State House if President Edgar Lungu does not meet him to discuss the plight of COMESA market fire victims.
Chishimba, who submitted a hand-written letter addressed to President Lungu, told journalists that he wanted to urgently meet the Head of State so that he could tell him the truth about what was obtaining on the ground.
Earlier, Chishimba, who is also his party’s mayoral candidate for Lusaka visited COMESA market.
“I went to COMESA Market to get firsthand information and the details of the extent of damage that happened. I was so touched by the suffering of the Zambians and others who are trading there legally from other nations. So I decided from there that I was first of all going to that center (COMESA Offices) where they are documenting affected marketers with the view of taking measures that are raising a lot of questions. So I thought that the most appropriate thing to do was to go to State House to go and tell President Edgar Lungu firsthand information, because we have a President who is not being told the truth by his men, those who are around him because all they care about is their pockets and I went to State House on the strength of what President Lungu himself said when he was swearing in some senior government officials in 2016, he said ‘for me State House is open to every Zambian, I don’t want you to stop people who are coming to see me’. So I went there with this emergency to go and represent the people of Zambia who are suffering at COMESA, when I got there, they stopped me. I said ‘can I call the President’s desk, from the gate, there is a phone there’, They said ‘no they have no right to call the President’s desk’,” Chishimba narrated.
“They stopped me and said I have to write a letter. So they gave me a piece of paper to write a letter, so I started writing the letter, you followed but they chased you as the media as if that area is not a public place and that was not even the inside of state house, it has nothing to do with security of the nation, that’s a public place. So I wrote a letter under duress, they came in numbers to watch me as I wrote the letter which I have actually delivered. My message is that the President must be in the business of delivering on the promises that he made to the people of Zambia…and I am speaking to the media because maybe that letter will never reach him because this is not the first time we have written letters to him but they never reach him.”
Chishimba disclosed that in his letter, he requested to meet President Lungu to tell him the concerns of the marketeers.
“I have asked the President that we need to have an emergency meeting because I want to tell him what the marketeers are saying. They are saying that they believe that the state does not mean well when they say they will push them (marketers) to another place until the state builds the new market. In the first place, that market was not built by the state but by the same traders. For those traders who have a bit of resources are saying they should be given chance to start trading in that place and then slowly they will start to rebuild on their own, so that idea of the government wanting to take them to City Market is suspicious to them, city market is full, there is no space there. Wherever they want to take them, they are receiving that with suspicion because that’s the place that is known, they are going to lose revenue as the pockets of looters get full, so I want to warn this regime that don’t play to matters of food, don’t touch food. I am giving this regime a seven-day ultimatum , let the President get the Zambia Army, he is the commander in chief, let the engineering department of Zambia Army go and clear that space to start trading, and then let there be a supplementary expenditure to enable marketeers reconstruct their livelihood,” he said.
Chishimba threatened to camp at State House if he wouldn’t get an appointment to see President Lungu.
“If they don’t give me a chance, I will take my mattress and I will begin to sleep at that State House until probably one day I chance him when he is coming out, that’s what I am going to do because enough is enough, the citizens are tired. This is in the interest of Zambians who are suffering. In fact, in case you don’t understand, let me kneel down to appeal…I am humbling myself because he is the one who is sitting on that throne. I am saying please for the sake of widows, for the sake of those mothers, I nearly cried there, there are mothers who are suffering, there are young people who have no jobs there, so I am saying please baba president Lungu get out of that state house, go and act on those people, they are the ones who voted in you in that State House,” said Chishimba whilst on his knees.