Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:22:21 +0000
By Augustin Phiri
WHEN Chinwenwenwe Chisusu was caught urinating on the tree-lined green vegetation of Cairo Road in the centre of the Central Business District of Lusaka, he was fined the prescribed K5,000 under the newly amended public nuisance offence.
Unable to cough that amount, he negotiated for a much less fee of K50.
Surprised at his negotiating skills which hoisted him out of a difficult situation, Chisusu proudly produced a K100 note and handed it over to his arresting officer who also turned out to be the prosecutor, judge and execution officer all rolled into one – the State Police Officer.
“Boma sipasa change,” the police man barked at Chisusu, meaning “government does not give change” as he snatched and pocketed the money.
“Katunde nafuti,” the officer ordered Chisusu to urinate again in lieu of the K50 change.
Look, this or a similar story has been told and retold to you numerous times perhaps. It is being retold here in view of the Public Nuisance Law which the government has retold the public.
Early this month, government through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing amended Statutory Instrument number 54 of 1992 that strengthens laws against street vending and public nuisances.
The enlarged Public Nuisance and Street Vending Law was assented to by the Head of State on February 9, 2018 aimed at checking the activities of individuals involved in boosting Zambia’s sidewalk economy.
Admittedly, street vending can be irritating in that a window shopper has to carry some extra cash in the pocket or purse just in case one kicked a plate of roasted and salted caterpillars laid for sale on the corridors.
In such a situation, only cash could wither the storm from the irate vendor, nothing more nothing less.
But despite making towns messy with litter thrown all over, street vendors have earned themselves the reputation of being most innovative, as Professor Nkandu Luo attested in parliament in March 2012.
As Local Government and Housing Minister, our beloved Professor Luo recognised this innovation when she revealed in the House that street vendors had invented the Flying Toilet, which no other human skull filled with university knowledge on this planet earth, has ever created.
How it works is this that, after helping oneself in a used opaque beer plastic container during the call of nature, a street vendor would then launch the toilet into the air and it is no user’s business to know where it crash-landed.
For, if it landed in the grass, well and good but tough luck if it ended up on the head of a well dressed passerby in a neatly laundered suit and walking to the auditorium to give a lecture on the subject of “Innovative Inventions”.
So you see, for years Zambian engineers churned out of our esteemed institutions of much-higher learning have failed to invent such a product.
Now that this Made in Zambia “Flying Toilet” is made public, I am certain that Mr Donald Trump will capture, copy, produce and give this piece of creation a prettier name of “sh-thole.
He will then produce it at commercial scale for all Americans to buy since no Zambian entrepreneur has come forward to invest in it.
Sorry for deviating from the subject at hand of the new anti-sidewalk trade. But the concern of many is whether the government through council police in conjunction with state police would be able to generate the envisaged revenue from characters flouting the statutes.
Would incidents like the one involving Chinwenwenwe Chisusu be the order of the day?
Those harbouring these worries should shed them off forthwith lest they develop high blood pressure which may even lead to cardiac arrest.
The Ministry of Local Government has devised measures to ensure that revenue from offenders is collected without any ngwee dropping in individual pockets.
And the measures are that initially, revenue collectors consisting council and state police officers would be engaged for the task of receiving fines and levies from the offenders.
This engagement would be followed by the engagement of inspectors whose task would be to oversee the revenue collection and the activities of the collectors.
Thereafter, another stream of inspectors would be engaged to check the activities of the first squad of inspectors in case they were compromised by the revenue collectors and the first team of inspectors.
When this is done, yet another stream of inspectors would be hired to inspect the activities of the second team of inspectors in case they were also compromised by the first stream of inspectors.
With this doable strategy in place, councils would be assured of collecting all the nuisance monies from each and every aspect of nuisance laws of the Republic of Zambia.
In addition, this well laid strategy would also go a long way in contributing to the creation of some 500,000 jobs the government has set for itself.
Now, let us look into these public nuisance laws from which councils would be raising nuisance revenue from.
According to paragraph 2 of the First Schedule of the related Amended Law of assented on 9th February 2018, any pedestrian, motorist, motor or human powered cyclist, ox-cart or donkey or horse rider would have to seek permission from the mayor to spit saliva or vomit material reeking of kachasu stench on the street.
This also means that any expectant mother with the mouth filled with saliva would have to dash to the civic centre to obtain permission from the mayor and return to the street of her choice and spit or vomit.
Failure to do so would render the offender liable to a spot fine of K333 and 33 Ngwee.
Anyone found throwing liter on, or along a street or prescribed road without express permission from the mayor would be made to pay K1, 666 and 67 Ngwee for committing the offence.
Like wise, people like Chinwenwenwe Chisusu would be parting with K5, 000 if found urinating and K6, 666 and 67 Ngwee for defecating in an unauthorised place.
Another notable law worth mentioning is that of “singing (or whistling) an obscene song or saying obscene words in a street, or public place” or indeed in a footpath. The fine for this offence is K3, 333 and 33 Ngwee.
This particular piece of legislation has come at the right time though too late but better late than never.
You see, there these chaps who call themselves musicians who parrot and produce material similar to songs on CDs and DVDs. “I wanna make l–e to you,” they yell at the top of their voices, my foot.
Now, in your own native languages, how do you say this? Are you seeing what I am seeing?
Under the amended law, such singers would be liable to a fine of K3,333 and 33 Ngwee. Bus drivers and conductors would suffer the same penalty for playing such insulting songs, “fwenya fwenya” and “kokola apo,” what nuisance is that.
In fact, this law should go further and arrest people who dance in public while touching the zip area of trousers for men and women who vigorously wriggle their waists. This is bedroom stuff.
Nursery school authorities should be dealt with as well for teaching the young ones similar styles of dancing deemed inappropriate. Have you seen how pre-school pupils dance during school open days, swaying their little waists and backsides?
And their parents would be there seated, smiling from cheek to cheek, clapping and cheering on their little ones. Are those not bedroom moves, for God’s sake?
Writing an obscene word or drawing an indecent figure on walls or bill boards would attract a levy of K3, 333 and 33 Ngwee. Note that this does not include writing of an obscene word in a newspaper like what I have just done and there should be no further discussion on this. Ohoo yes, lest I forget, those of you with the knack of knocking down streetlights especially when under the influence of certain drinks better be warned. The fine is K16, 666 and 67 Ngwee for doing so.
Now, imagine damaging a street light pole with your Toyota Corolla car valued at K8, 000 and you are made to pay double that amount – don’t drink and drive and don’t drive and drink either.
And the new anti-vending law prohibits the sale of any merchandise other than a market and the fine for flouting this law is K5, 000 per day.
Likewise, any bloke found buying Pamela on the street would suffer the same consequence, after all, it takes two to tangle.
Let us do something and let God help us adhere to the new statutes and keep our cities, towns and villages clean and habitable to humans and other creatures.
Disclaimer: Note that this piece is satire based on real life situations and should be treated as such.