PRESS STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT MANAGEMENT OF MARKETS AND BUS STATIONS, AND LAND ADMINISTRATION SHOULD BE UNDER RELEVANT AUTHORITIES.
We are happy that President Edgar Lungu has now come out clearly on the above issue.
For decades the Bus Stations and Markets have seen hordes of political party cadres overruling District Council officials and even collecting more money in levies than the local authorities. This has in turn weakened Council further, making it almost impossible for them to provide the basic services and keeping these central places tidy.
The party cadres are also controlling traffic illegally and have set bases in these public places where they even intimidate innocent people, demanding to be recognized as a parallel authority to the Coucnils.
The cadres have also grabbed private and public pieces of land using force. Many people have also lost their hard earned money after being allocated plots bought from party cadres just to have the newly developed properties demolished by local authorities. District and City Planning has also become almost impossible in towns like Lusaka as cadres offer plots anywhere they see an empty piece of land regardless of the future use it has been reserved for by the local authorities, and graveyards. A vivid example in Lusaka is the on-going illegal allocation of plots for shops and bars along the Great North Road near Habitat for Humanity and around the Youth Recreation Centre between Marapodi, Chipata Compound and Northgate Gadens in Mandevu Constituency, and the invasion of part of Chingwere Cemetery. The management of land is the prerogative of the Ministry of Lands with Councils as Agents.
We urge President Lungu to remain firm to bring order to these public places and also ensure people who have lost land at the hands of party cadres be compenseted forthwith. Mr. Lungu should also issue an order restraining invastion of graveyards. The Head of State should further ban the control of traffic by party cadres, running of roadside bus stations and diplay of party regalia in public places as all this goes against the Public Order Act. Equally illegal is the wearing of party regalia by vigilante-like teams in public places with a clear intention of intimidating members of the general public- another act against the Public Order Act.
The Councils countrywide should take advantage of the presidental announcement to ensure party cadres have no room in central places, including trading in any open places. In this vain, we salute Kabwe and Kitwe Municipal Council to taking measures to restrict street vendors to specific traditing areas. Trading anyhow has become a norm, thereby compromising public health and security, and legal trading.
President Lungu’s announcement is timely because even in Hell there is Order!