Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale says Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has approached him, requesting that his ministry helps him to realise his dream of providing free Wi Fi in the City.
And Mwale says government is aware that political cadres are collecting levies from markets and bus stations on behalf of civic centres and is working hard to change the status quo by introducing an electronic system of collecting levies.
Appearing on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme, Thursday, Mwale said the authority would do all it can to ensure that the Mayor’s dream was achieved, but said the free Wi Fi may not be available in some places within Lusaka city.
“The Mayor requested that the Ministry comes to his aid when we were launching electronic platform for logging in papers for building and so on. He said ‘please, we are happy with this but can you also help us with Wi Fi’. So we are trying to think with the Mayor over what we can do about providing Wi Fi. It may not be the whole Lusaka but we think that certain spots need Wi Fi to start with and there must be cost sharing. Maybe people advertise in a certain area but they also pay for Wi Fi for people and you provide them with space for adverts. Something like that but the Mayor is brainstorming and we are also helping out to make sure that he can actually achieve his dream. It is his dream and we will help him achieve it,” Mwale said.
Meanwhile, Mwale said government was working towards rolling out an electronic system for collection of bus station and market levies countrywide in order to stop cadres from taking charge of markets and collecting levies.
“We have engaged a company that has developed a system for us which is being used to collect the levies. This is the way we are going to go. The whole country, we are going to make sure that we collect levies from the marketeers electronically. We may have up to 3 million marketeers in this country, if each one of them just paid K1 a day, we will have K3 million which can be used to rebuild markets. In 10 days we will have K30 million and in a month we can have K90 million. It means we can rebuild all the markets that we have in this country, even just based on K1 market levy…,” Mwale observed.
But these marketeers are actually paying sometimes up to K10, but most of these monies go in people’s pockets. I actually confess that this is happening, political party cadres are collecting levies. I am not going to point at a particular political party because all political parties are culprits to this. Go to Choma, I have seen elsewhere where a particular political party has a flag and they are controlling the levies, I have gone to Chibombo and I have been told by council workers that a particular party there is very popular and they are ones controlling the market. Come to Lusaka, you will find a party that is very popular controlling things.”
He also reiterated that Lusaka City Market which was gutted in 2017 would only be reconstructed after the new Simon Mwewa market was fully completed.
“We are not going to rebuild city market now, until we finish Simon Mwewa because we will have another challenge if we want to reconstruct city market now. We will have a challenge of dealing with people that are trading in there. But once Simon Mwewa is complete, those people in city market will have to move to Simon Mwewa and then city market will have to open up for construction,” said Mwale.