Aspiring PF Lusaka Provincial Chairman Kennedy Kamba says he will not allow the Lusaka City Council (LCC) to turn street vendors into enemies of the PF government by harassing them.
And Kamba says complaining about him in the media will not unite the party, but encouraged those aggrieved to follow the right communication channel.
In an interview, Kamba vowed not to allow LCC to turn vendors against PF.
“I have just seen that the Lusaka City Council were destroying the mobile money booths in the Central Business [District] of Lusaka, why? Based on that they don’t have a license! Honestly, how do we go that far when the unemployment levels in Lusaka are very high? The best the Lusaka City Council should have done is to engage those mobile money service providers. And that permit [which] they are talking about is K100. That is not fair and those are the people who voted for us in Lusaka District. When we are ushered in as chairman of Lusaka, we are going to look into that. We are going to harmonize, including the street vendors. We have to bring them on the table so that they also provide what they have on the table [and] we will also provide what we have on the table [so that] at the end of the day, we agree,” Kamba said.
He said he would not allow street vendors to be turned into enemies of government resulting from mistreating them and confiscating their goods.
“What I don’t want is to be treating the traders and the street vendors as enemies of this government. I am not going to allow that because those are the people who voted for Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and this party belongs to the poor. When we talk about the poor people, those are the people who are selling groundnuts, the women who are selling Chikanda. Honestly, somebody has got a capital of K50, he buys Chikanda and starts going in the streets [selling and] when you find that person, and you arrest her and take him to the fast-track court and charge him K1,000 failure to that you jail him for two months? How many people are going to be jailed? So, that policy which the Lusaka City Council has come about with is not going well with me because I strongly feel that those are the poor Zambians who voted for the party, who voted for this government and we need to engage them,” Kamba added.
Kamba also said that street vendors are running to trade along public roads because they know that the roads are public properties.
“Have you seen any street vendors at Levy Park? The answer is no. Have you seen any street vendor at Manda Hill Shopping Mall? Have you seen any street vendor at Arcades or East Park Mall? The answer is no. They are going through Lumumba Road; they are going through Cairo Road; they are going through Cha Cha Cha Road because they know that those roads belong to the Zambian government, they are not [on] private properties. So, hence we need to engage them because the tendency of the Zambian people [is that] we have been brought up as people who easily buy from the vendors. Someone cannot drive just Cabinet office all the way to Soweto Market just to go and buy tomato for K10. There are others who are providing tomatoes on the doorstep,” Kamba narrated.
“What we need to do is to bring them on board, if we need to license them we start licensing them, if we can give them a few days per week so that they can also earn something out of street vending, and if we can give them days to clean the street, those are the issues we need to put on the table, and they also have got a lot of issues to put on the table. Taking people to court over their K50 worth merchandize will de-campaign the party. Yes, the city should be clean and this is why we need to bring them on the table and look at them as people who voted us into office.”
And asked how he survived the pressure from those against his adoption, Kamba said it was important to air such grievances using the right communication channel.
“Don’t mix structures and bloggers. We have got our colleagues who are on the social media 24/7 and we’ve got our party officials. Most of those people in the blogs, some of them don’t have party positions. And we are not saying that we don’t need our friends on social media. But what is important for those colleagues is to follow the right channel of the party if they have any grievances,” said Kamba.
“If Kennedy Kamba has erred, I am human, I can error; I am not God, [but] there are channels, which they should follow if they want to air their grievances against me who has erred. They have to see the Secretary General of the party; they have to go through the National Youth Chairperson of the party; they have to see the National Women Chairperson of the party unlike washing dirty linen in the media; that is not going to unite us, and that is what the opposition is looking at. They really want this party to be divided so that it becomes easier for them to mobilize the party in Lusaka, which I am not going to allow when I am ushered into office. I am going to make sure that I unite the party in Lusaka.”