IT is a fact that while President Hakainde Hichilema has ruled out the presence of political cadres running markets and bus stations, the reality on the ground says something else.
In fact, immediately after President Hichilema was declared winner of the August 12 elections, jubilant UPND cadres swiftly chased their nemesis – PF cadres – and took control.
But it is pleasing that the illegal activities of the UPND cadres will not be tolerated by the police.
Inspector General of Police Lemmy Kajoba on Tuesday directed deputy police commissioners throughout the country to weed out political cadres from all markets and bus stations and offer protection.
That order has paid dividends as we have reported today, that the cadres were conspicuously a no-show sight yesterday.
It is important that the cadres are physically removed from these facilities so that traders and passenger transporters can operate independently of political interference that comes with dubious payments.
Payments that could have gone into the coffers of the local authorities ended up into the pockets of political cadres who were answerable to no one.
Mr Kajoba should be commended that he has taken his assignment seriously that political cadres must be removed from markets and bus stations.
Mr Kajoba on Tuesday observed with concern the continued reports of harassment of the public in some markets and bus stations by some suspected political cadres.
If anything, the new crop of cadres might not be operating openly like their PF colleagues were, but they are there on the ground.
Traders and bus drivers must therefore be alert and help the police flush out these miscreants from their midst.
It is quite clear that cadrerism will not be eliminated easily as the rewards, albeit earned illegally, are quite attractive.
This explains why UPND operatives at the Lusaka Intercity Bus Terminus for example came up with a strange security scheme where each trader would be paying K20 everyday.
Yet, there is a police post at the station manned 24 hours in addition to council policemen.
Mr Kajoba rightly appealed to traders to report individuals who were in the habit of harassing them to police officers.
“This will enable us to respond to people’s concerns without delay hence protecting traders from those cadres who are trying to resist change in the running of markets and bus stations,” said Mr Kajoba.
What is obtaining now is something like a cat and mouse game being played out between the police and the cadres.
At least, Mr Kajoba also alluded to this hence his directive to the deputy Commissioners of Police throughout the country not to relax but be proactive.
Let markets and bus stations be strictly for business, free of politics. No one should be denied a market space or stopped from operating at a bus station because he does not belong to the party in government.
That is something that people rejected in the August 12 elections. They did not vote to end the green terror to replace it with that in red.
We therefore implore Mr Kajoba and his men and women in uniform not to relent and help bring sanity at these public facilities.
One way of ending the cadre nuisance is by enforcing the rule that no political flags should be displayed in markets and bus stations as announced by police spokesperson Esther Katongo.
The so-called party offices is where all the confusion starts from and the earlier they are removed the better for all. Let’s have some sanity now.