By ROGERS KALERO
THE UPND In Chililabombwe has been accused of blocking non members from selling their mealie meal in the lucrative market of Kasumbalesa.
The decision by UPND to ban non-party members from the lucrative mealie meal market at Kasumbalesa community and Konkola Township has caused an uproar and may lead to ugly confrontation with traders.
More than 20 mealie meal traders in Konkola and Kasumbalesa in Chililabombwe have complained of been blocked from conducting their businesses by the ruling UPND cadres in the district.
Some traders complained that the UPND cadres have even instructed the security officers at the border not to allow the same traders to sell the mealie meal there.
On Wednesday, more than five traders had their mealie meal returned at the border because they were among those blacklisted by the UPND cadres in order to give chance to new traders to sell the commodity.
David Chisha, James Ngoma and Alfred Sinyinza were some of the traders whose mealie meal was returned on Wednesday because they were not on the list of those to be allowed to sell the commodity at the border.
“The situation is bad. Some of these UPND cadres have taken a list to security officers at the border and so if your name is not there, then you cannot sell. So, on Wednesday, some of us, our mealie meal was returned because we have been sidelined.
“More than 20 of us, we have been sidelined from conducting our businesses by the ruling UPND cadres in the district. This is sad. Is this what we voted for surely? No one should be sidelined from doing business. No,” said the affected traders.
According to investigations by the Daily Nation, the more than 20 mealie meal traders have been told to stop selling the mealie meal at Konkola and Kasumbalesa border post so that the UPND cadres can also start benefiting from being members of the ruling party.
The traders said the UPND in the district had stopped the Patriotic Front (PF) members from selling mealie meal at Kasumbalesa border post so that others could also engage in the same business.
And some traders talked to, said they regret having voted for the UPND because its cadres had become more brutal than the Patriotic Front (PF) cadres, saying it was sad that they were ignoring President Hakainde Hichilema of cadres not harassing people.
The traders who spoke on grounds of anonymity, said it was disrespectful for the UPND cadres to start ignoring President Hichilema’s guidance less than two months in government.
“We are disappointed and it is actually a sign of being disrespectful for the UPND cadres to behave contrary to what President Hichilema has been talking about. President Hichilema has stated in no uncertain terms that cadres should not harass people.
“But what is happening in Chililabombwe is something else. We have cadres all over the place. These cadres are even threatening civil servants,” said some Chililabombwe residents.
This follows a meeting at which UPND officials on the Copperbelt said it was now time for ruling party members to benefit by taking over the transportation of mealie meal from over 20 traders.
UPND Chililabombwe district chairman, Timothy Musonda has since written to the district commissioner’s office notifying them of the party’s decision to suspend all mealie meal supply deals to the two townships.
In the confidential letter, Mr Musonda said the UPND National Management Committee allowed a new arrangement where the ruling party had taken over the supply of mealie meal to Konkola and Kasumbalesa.
“The party has decided that permit for passage to trucks carrying mealie meal to Kasumbalesa community and Konkola Township by the current arrangement is suspended. My office through the National Management has allowed a new arrangement by the party to takeover Konkola and Kasumbalesa community service with immediate effect,” the letter reads.
When contacted, Mr Musonda said the letter did not mean that PF cadres would be sidelined in the deals.
Mr Musonda said those who had been asked to stop their business of selling mealie meal would be allowed later, saying the whole thing was a temporally measure.
“Yes, it is true that some of those traders have been asked to pave way for other traders who are new in the business, not necessarily the UPND cadres. No, they are not UPND cadres but mere businessmen.
“This is just a temporally arrangement, but the whole thing will come back to normal. We want to stop those who were beating us, as UPND to stop benefitting under the UPND. It is now time for the UPND to benefit,” Mr Musonda said.