By AARON CHIYANZO
UPND branches will be created among marketeers and bus drivers, UPND Lusaka Province chairperson Obvious Mwaliteta has clarified.
Mr Mwaliteta explained that no political cadre would be brought into markets and bus stations to create branches.
This follows public uproar over insinuations that Mr Mwaliteta was plotting to bring back cadres in bus stations and markets against efforts by the new Government to remove cadres from public places.
Mr Mwaliteta said his plans were misunderstood as he did not mean cadres would be brought back into markets and bus stations.
He explained that just like political parties mobilise people in communities into party branches, the same could be done with marketeers and bus drivers.
Mr Mwaliteta said in an interview that marketeers and bus drivers could be mobilised into branches for the party.
He emphasised that branches formed within markets and bus stations were not for purposes of collecting money or interfering with council operations.
Mr Mwaliteta said the branches were for party mobillisation purposes with clear instructions not to interfere with operations of the local authorities.
“Just like the bus drivers and marketeers form cooperatives and choose a chairman among themselves, they can also be mobilised like that into branches for the party. We did not mean bringing cadres back into these public places,” he said.
Mr Mwaliteta said the directive from President Hakainde Hichilema on removing cadres from bus stations and markets was very clear and that there was no way he would defy that.
He said no cadres would be allowed in markets and bus stations, especially those with illegal intentions.
Mr Mwaliteta said mobilising marketeers and bus drivers into branches was not tantamount to bringing back cadres into public places.
And Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Gary Nkombo said Mr. Mwaliteta’s statement was misinterpreted.
Mr Nkombo said the constitution indicated that people had the freedom to associate, liberty of the conscience and the freedom of movement.
The minister said people were free to form church groups, diverse political party groups and any other grouping to exist in facilities such as markets and bus stations.
“However, these associations will not and must not have anything to do with the management of these facilities,” Mr Nkombo said in a statement.
Mr Nkombo said once these branches were established and by any given chance they begin to interfere in the management of the market and bus stations, this would call for instant removal of the association or branch from the said facility.