IF arresting mealie meal shoppers who buy in bulk is harassment, then I will continue harassing them until we normalize the supply of the commodity, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has vowed.

Speaking when he featured on Muvi TV’s Sunrise Breakfast show, Monday, Lusambo claimed that traders in communities were sending young boys to buy subsidized mealie meal from supermarkets and later re-sell at a higher price.

“I want to assure the residents of Lusaka that if what we are doing is harassing the general public, I think, for me, I will continue harassing them until we normalize this issue because the issue at hand is artificial. Our young men and women are being used by traders in the compounds to come and buy cheap bags of mealie meal from chain stores like Shoprite and other chain stores and they are giving them K5 and K10, respectively, and when this mealie meal goes in the compounds, the mealie meal is fetching at K175 up to K216,” Lusambo argued.

“The young men we rounded up yesterday in SoS area, we took them to North Gate Police Post [and] I interviewed the young boys and among the boys, one came out and told me that, ‘let me take you to the person who sent us to come and buy this mealie meal.’ And when we went there in Mandevu’s Kabanana Site and Service, we found what we have been looking for. Our mealie meal, which is on a government tripartite list from African Milling, Pembe, Nyimba and Champion Milling, is being sold at K216 (per 25Kg breakfast bag), K175, K190, and K185. And I made those traders to start selling the mealie meal at a recommended price, which is K137 and K136.”

He said he will not sit idle and watch people tarnish President Edgar Lungu’s name.

“For me, as a member of the Cabinet of His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, knowing very well the heart which the President has for the people of Zambia, I won’t sit idle and see the name of the President being brought into disrepute. I will be there to make sure that we control the situation,” Lusambo said.

“And I didn’t do that for the sake of people like Sean Tembo and many others, including my brother from Luanshya called Kambwili. We didn’t just make those people reduce the price; the people who previously bought the mealie meal at K180 and K216, I made sure that the change was given back to those people. So, if that is harassing the general public, I will continue harassing them because my responsibility as Minister for Lusaka Province is to look after the four million people here in Lusaka Province.”

And the Kabushi PF member of parliament said he would not waste his time talking about the opposition because their interest was in stripping public assets.

“Edgar Chagwa Lungu is performing. Whether they like it or not, come 2021, they will be shocked [because] Edgar Chagwa Lungu will be back to State House! And this is not a joke. We don’t have opposition in our country. Those opposition [members who] walk out of Parliament, is that the opposition which you want to see? The opposition leaders who are experts in selling government assets? Opposition leaders who have stripped off the railway line between Ndola and Luanshya and you want to call them opposition? Wait a minute, excuse me, madam, we have better things to do and talk about,” said Lusambo.