WHAT Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo did is abuse and disrespect for the poor, there is no law that restricts how much of a commodity anyone can buy, says Alliance for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti.
And Miti says Ministers should stop abusing the Police by ordering them to make unlawful arrests.
On Saturday, Lusambo ordered the arrest of some youths who were buying mealie meal from Shoprite on allegations that they were buying in bulk on behalf of some retail shop owners in the compounds.
The minister ordered the youths to sit on the floor before ordering the Police to apprehend them.
The juveniles were picked up by Police at Megasave Shoprite on Kafue road and SOS Shoprite.
And in a writeup posted on his Facebook page, Lusambo stated that the shortage of mealie meal was artificially induced by criminal elements bent on tarnishing the good name of President Edgar Lungu.
“We conducted a very successful operation to ascertain the root cause of this mealie meal supply problem in Lusaka. We started our tour at Shoprite Kafue Road outlet and we ended up visiting Shoprite SoS and we intercepted a number of young boys who have been engaged by unscrupulous businessmen to buy the commodity in bulk from Shoprite after which they are selling at exorbitant prices in our compounds,” he stated.
“As part of our operation, these boys led us to one of the business persons involved in this illegal trade. From our investigations, we can report that this shortage of mealie meal is artificially induced and purely man made by criminal elements bent on tarnishing the good name of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. As Lusaka Province Minister, I will not sit with folded arms and watch President Lungu’s name be tarnished by greedy business people.”
But in an interview with News Diggers! Miti observed that humiliating young customers who were buying mealie meal was both unlawful and immoral.
She added that there was no law that restricted how much of a commodity anyone could buy.
“Minister of Lusaka Province Bowman Lusambo and Shoprite combining forces to humiliate young customers buying mealie meal was both unlawful and immoral. There is no law that restricts how much of a commodity anyone can buy. In incidents where amounts must be restricted, it is the responsibility of a retail outlet to implement it for ALL customers,” Miti said.
She said Lusambo and Shoprite targeted the poor who could not stand up for themselves yet privileged people were also buying mealie meal in bulk.
“In this case, Mr Lusambo and Shoprite targeted the poor who cannot stand up for themselves. Privileged people are also buying more mealie meal than usual but Shoprite does not call the Minister and police to make them squat on the floor on camera, much less do they get arrested. What Mr Lusambo did is characteristic abuse and disrespect for the poor that will have dire consequences for us all if not stopped. We must never forget that Zambia is majority poor,” Miti said.
She stated that the victimized youths deserved an apology and compensation from Shoprite for the humiliation and unlawful arrest.
Miti added that “It is also important to state again, that Ministers must stop abusing police by ordering them to make unlawful arrests.”