Former PF Lusaka District youth chairperson Kennedy Kamba says the ruling party is not going to protect an individual’s business who is not willing to help youths in Lusaka’s Central Business District (CBD).

Reacting to Capital Bus Company Proprietor Ishmael Kankara’s complaint that there was a lot of thuggery in the CBD where youths were illegally extorting money from bus drivers, Kamba distanced the PF from having a hand in any illegalities, but questioned why Capital Buses were fond of stopping at undesignated bus stops in some areas.

“And when you look at his complaint, even his Flash Buses are loading along Freedom Way and along Cha Cha Cha Road! Why? Because that is where they can find the passengers easier than following the queue at Kulima Tower or at City Market or Millennium Bus Station. So, the party is not going there to start protecting an individual’s business who is not even helping the youths in the Central Business District. What he needs to do is to sit down with the same youths and ask them what it is that he can do for them so that they work together? Now, if you want to be greedy and make sure that when the youths rise against him, he starts bringing the name of the party in those issues, we are not going to agree with that. And even those buses that are loading at City Market or along the way cannot be allowed to load at Kankara’s bus station because of exorbitant charges,” Kamba argued.

“Those who are running bus stations in town were there before PF formed government [and] we are not going to allow those members of the public to use the name of the party. What we want is to harmonize the situation between the same youths and the operators and the Council because whether we like it or not, passengers are not going to stop hiking along Freedom Way or along Cha Cha Cha Road so the party is not collecting any money from the markets or bus stations. Those are just youths, but what we are against is for them to use the name of the party. And us as the ruling party we are going to harmonise the situation between Kankara and the same youths, bus drivers and the same youths.”

“We are aware that bus drivers also have got sub-committees in the stations and we also know that there are bus drivers who are chairmen at Kabwata Station; chairman at Mtendere; chairman at Kabulonga; chairman at Chazanga and they are also collecting money from the bus drivers. And if that bus driver doesn’t contribute that money then he is not going to be allowed to load on that route. There is what they call “Chilimba” and not everyone is happy with what they are doing.”

He charged that Kankara was also charging exorbitant fees for bus operators loading from Millennium Station.

“Again, there are also challenges because Kankara is running that bus station as an individual [or] as a private company. The amount, which he is charging the bus drivers for them to load there if it is not his bus, they are exorbitant! And most of the bus operators cannot afford to go and load at Kankara’s bus station because of the same charges. And secondly, he doesn’t allow the same youths to operate from his station. There are other services, which the youths can offer at the bus station like calling the passengers, loading the luggage and offloading the luggage. This is not between the party and Kankara, no, it is between the youths in the Central Business District of Lusaka and Kankara. He shouldn’t bring the name of the party into disrepute! That is why I am saying that we need to sit down and talk. And again, we are not the law enforcers, we are the policymakers and we have appealed to the police officers to harmonise the situation in conjunction with the party,” Kamba explained.

He further said that if PF as a party in government wanted, it would legalise all the alleged illegal bus stations in town and create employment for the youths.

“It doesn’t mean that if there is an illegal bus station in Kalingalinga and if there is a Chitenge material for PF, then that person belongs to the party, no! When an illegality is being done, there are police officers to control that. All we are saying is let’s sit down and see if we can create employment for the youths. If it means legalising the illegal bus stations, we are running the Council; we are running the government; we can do that and put up water because all we need at Impala Service there, all what we need at Hungry Lion along Freedom Way, all what we need at Radian Stores is to put up toilets and running water so that those small bus stations can be legalised,” said Kamba.

“By doing so, we are even going to create employment for the same youths and we are going to give services closer to the people of Lusaka. All we don’t what is to use the name of the party to protect the business of Kankara. So, whether those are youths of PF or UPND, they are there to put bread and butter on the table, we cannot run away from that. Now, the issue of Kankara is personal. He wants to threaten us so that we can protect his business for him to make a lot of money!”

Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s “Let the People Talk” programme, Tuesday, Kankara observed that there was a lot of thuggery in the local transport sector where youths were illegally extorting monies from bus drivers.

But Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo, who phoned into the live broadcast, assured that his Ministry would activate a system to deal with the situation.