LUSAKA Mayor Miles Sampa has vowed that any bars masquerading as restaurants will be closed down, even though the owners are connected to some powerful people.

On Tuesday, President Edgar Lungu’s former political advisor Kaizer Zulu said he would have breakfast, lunch and dinner at Chigago’s Reloaded on Wednesday.

“By powers and freedoms vested in me as a citizen of the republic of Zambia, I wish to inform friends and relatives that I will be having breakfast, lunch and supper at Chicago’s reloaded tomorrow Wednesday 1st Of July 2020. I wish to further appeal to Chicago’s management to abide by the rules of engagement vis a vis COVID-19 guidelines as per Presidential Directives,” Zulu wrote on his Facebook post.

Earlier, Chicago’s proprietor Savvas Christofi announced on his Facebook page that his restaurant would reopen on Wednesday as normal.

When one of his followers reminded him that Sampa warned that anyone who would go there would do so at their own risk, Christofi replied; “the mayor doesn’t pay my rent, I do, and my rent”.

And in response to both Zulu and Christofi, Sampa he warned that he would not allow anyone not elected anywhere in Lusaka to interfere with his work.

“Well as Mayor I don’t pay salaries or rent either for the many restaurants and bars owned by generally economically struggling Zambians in the city but have shut their bar doors in respect of the Presidential COVID-19 guidelines. Even in Greece elected Mayors are respected when they enforce Covid 19 guidelines. Worse off a Zambian bar owner there would not dare answer the Mayor of Athens,” Sampa wrote on his Facebook page.

“Lusaka shall not be abused as an exception to COVID-19 compliance by any so called investor. It’s either all bars Re-open or none is and more so just because it’s owned by a foreigner. LCC gives licenses to all restaurants or bars to conduct business in the City. Chicago’s Reloaded has for now been suspended by LCC until further notice. Abash Neo-Colonialism putting foreign owned Bars first and Zambian owned bars second. As for anyone not elected anywhere in Lusaka and interfering with our work, please ‘Sela Tubombeko’.We only take orders from other elected Citizens in the City. We are not here for publicity stunts. Ukokwine! We have a constitutional job to do and we shall do so without Fear or Favour.”

And in an interview, Sampa said he only respected President Edgar Lungu, Local Government Minister Charles Banda and Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, whom he reported to.

“There is no sacred cow. Anyone contravening the Presidential guidelines, you own a restaurant and you start masquerading as a bar late in the night, we will pounce on you whether you are owned by a foreigner or Zambian, we don’t care! Whether you are linked to some powerful people, we don’t care. Whether you host Ministers in your restaurants or bars, we don’t care, we will pounce on you and close you indiscriminately. We are very impartial in this process and we will not be intimidated by anybody,” said Sampa.

“The Constitution entails me to do these things, I don’t know about their procedure, they can get enslaved by procedures. The thing is that I want the job done. We want bars not to open, how I do that is my business. That is how I work, if they don’t like it, they should apply to be mayor next year. That is how I work. They should get used to it. There is no law that I have broken, my job is to ensure compliance by bars, how I get it done that is my job, that is me. If anyone has a problem, he should go to court. I only respect the President of Zambia Edgar Chagwa Lungu, my Minister of Local Government Charles Banda and my other Minister Lusaka Province Bowman Lusambo, that is where I report and the Bible tells me to respect the authority given to me abashala ba sele tubombeko (the rest shouldn’t interfere with my duties).”