THE UPND must take disciplinary action against its officials in Chililabombwe who we feel have not only embarrassed the party but have also brought it into disrepute.
It is a shame that the officials, led by their district chairman, Mr Timothy Musonda have openly defied court orders involving an injunction that was granted to 16 local traders.
The injunction barred the UPND officials from stopping the 16 traders from trading in mealie meal in Konkola Township and Kasumbalesa.
It is a shame that the 16 traders had to seek court intervention for the second time before the UPND officials decided to “lift” the ban.
The UPND in Chililabombwe reversed its decision to bar 16 mealie meal traders from conducting their business in Konkola Township after its district chairman, Mr Musonda was summoned to answer contempt of court charges for allegedly defying a court injunction.
For the past month or so, Mr Musonda has been playing a cat and mouse game with the Chililabombwe Magistrate’s Court which made the ruling – and which he ignored.
Oblivious of the legal implications, on September 3, 2021, Mr Musonda wrote a letter to ban the 16 mealie meal traders from conducting their business in Konkola Township.
The letter which the Daily Nation obtained was signed by Mr Musonda and addressed to the District Commissioner, said his office through the UPND National Management Commitee has allowed a new arrangement by the party to take over Konkola and Kasumbalesa community service involving the mealie meal trade..
The letter, which was written on September 3, 2021 stated that the party had decided that the permit for passage to trucks carrying mealie meal to Kasumbalesa community and Konkola Township by the current arrangement is suspended. The ideal was for the lucrative trade to be taken over by UPND traders.
This illegal ban prompted the 16 aggrieved traders to seek a court injunction against the UPND officials which was granted.
But Mr Musonda and his officials openly defied the injunction which again prompted the 16 traders to go back to the court.
On Tuesday, the court ordered that Mr Musonda should appear in court to answer contempt of court charges on November 4, 2021, but the date was brought forward to October 26, after complaints from the 16 traders that the UPND cadres had continued to disobey the court order.
On October 26, 2021, when Mr Musonda was summoned to answer contempt of court charges, he promised to write a letter to authorise the 16 mealie meal traders to conduct their business in Konkola Township.
Now in a letter dated October 27, 2021 signed by Mr Musonda and addressed to the District Commissioner, the UPND has reversed the suspension of the community truck passage to Konkola in compliance with the court injunction in the matter.
“My office through the National Management serves to advise the reversal of the suspension of community truck passage to Konkola with immediate effect, in compliance with the court injunction in this matter,” read the reversal letter signed by Mr Musonda.
Where did Mr Musonda in the first place draw the powers to try and withdraw trading licences from legitimate traders.
The Chililabombwe mess is what has obtained in the country since the UPND won the August 12 elections – the winner-grab-all syndrome.
Yet, the behaviour from the cadres on the ground goes against what President Hakainde Hichilema has preached against, a zero tolerance towards cadrerism and lawlessness.
What is sad about the Chililabombwe incident is that the UPND top leadership has remained mute and could explain why Mr Musonda decided to disregard the court.
But they ought to know that this passive posture could hurt the party in the long run because there is nothing about respect for the rule of law.