PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema finally settled the matter of cadres and clearly defined where they do not belong.
It was important that the President came out very clear on this issue so that there are no further entanglements.
During his Press Conference at State House, the President more than cleared the air. No cadres in markets or bus stations.
After weeks of conflicting statements on the future of cadres and whether or not they should have offices at bus stations or in markets, the President not only cleared up matters but warned officials not to go against his directives.
This is the direction that was lacking and which hopefully will now set the tone for every UPND party functionary to know that the President means what he says.
The issue of cadres assuming authority in markets and bus stations, contributed to the down fall of the Patriotic Front. The management of markets and bus stations is best left in the hands of local authorities who are were versed in this and can account for revenue collections. This is the order that the President has advocated for along with all Zambians who want order.
One of the thorny issues which public transport providers constantly complained of in the previous government, was the mushrooming of bus stops manned by unruly cadres extorting money from bus drivers. Defiant drivers were often beaten and or banned from operating from particular bus stations. Traders in markets also had to contend with paying both the council and the cadres for operating from their trading spaces.
This is the anomaly which has been eliminated with the removal of cadres from these public places.
And now, UPND Lusaka province chairperson, Obvious Mwaliteta has said he will respect President Hichilema’s guidance on the issue. This is after he had threatened to set up branches in markets and bus stations for his cadres. There were even attempts from other senior party officials to justify what Mr Mwaliteta was planning to do.
The President has however, put everyone in their place and put the record straight in as far as cadres are concerned.
Now Mr Mwaliteta is speaking a different language, “UPND will respect the president’s counsel not to send cadres in markets and bus stations.”
Mr Mwaliteta said the party would not go against the president’s directive and that no camp would be formed in the markets.
‘’I think it is only prudent that we follow what the President has said because he means well for us and as a party we are going to respect his guidance,’’ he said.
Like all law abiding citizens, cadres can only go to the markets to sell or buy products like everyone else. Any attempt to try and change this narrative may cause criticism from the citizens who are now determined to ensure these public places retain the sanity which has been restored with the removal of cadres.
For now, there will be no flags flying in markets or bus station other than the national flag. That is as it should be.