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Citizens First President Harry Kalaba has condemned as cheap populism President Hakainde Hichilema’s reversal of the directive by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Garry Nkombo that   all street vendors in Lusaka be moved to markets.

Mr Nkombo had directed the Lusaka City Council to relocate all the street vendors trading in the central business district (CBD) to markets sparking a protest by the vendors.

But President Hichilema overruled Mr Mpombo directing that the removal of the vendors should be suspended until the council found an amicable solution to the vexing problem of street vending.

Mr Kalaba said in a statement on Sunday that President Hichilema should learn to make hard decisions to avert future crises such as outbreak of diarrheal diseases instead of embarrassing his ministers in public in order to gain political mileage.

“The truth is that if you respect your people, if you respect the vendors, you should find them a decent place where they can conduct their business with dignity,” Mr Kalaba said. “A President should be courageous enough to make decisions even if they are unpopular as long as they are beneficial to the people. Unfortunately, President Hichilema was too excited and decided to rebuke Mr Nkombo whose foresight was the fear of the outbreak of diseases,” Mr Kalaba said. 

Mr Kalaba stated that government should have banned trading in the streets and corridors for at least three months and relocated the vendors to a temporary area with all social amenities while making the markets conducive for trading.  people will follow the vendors there as long as there is decent shelter and good sanitary conditions. In the next three years Cairo Road and Lumumba Road will be completely closed by the vendors and the government will fail to control the situation,” Mr Kalaba said. He said it was wrong for President Hichilema to throw Mr Nkombo, his own trusted minister under the bus, whose directive would have benefitted the vendors. Mr Kalaba warned that street vending posed a serious public health risk citing the outbreak of cholera in Eastern Province, which could easily spread to Lusaka.


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