So far so good.

Lusaka, the country’s capital city is already looking clean after the removal of street vendors from the central business district.

The filth that littered the streets and islands have suddenly reduced as those responsible for the garbage are no longer there.

And although there are a few street vendors who have defied the orders to move, the government must not relent to remove them permanently and help them find trading places in markets and other designated trading places.

However, the problem of street vendors is not peculiar to Lusaka alone but is a menace throughout the country.

Thus, we welcome the government’s announcement that the clean-up exercise will be rolled out throughout the country.

After all, the problems that come with street vendors are the same – insecurity, clogged shop corridors and pavements, disrupting traffic flow, and the dirt that is created.

It makes it very difficult for the local authorities to maintain cleanliness.

It is important that the momentum to remove the street vendors is kept.

The announcement by Local Government and Rural Development Minister Garry Nkombo that the exercise will be carried out throughout the country is welcome.

Mr Nkombo, who yesterday made an on-the-spot tour of the CBD in Lusaka said the removal of vendors from streets would roll out to other provinces.

The Lusaka CBD had been an eyesore for decades with mountains of garbage while most of the illegal trading places were also open taverns and restaurants.

If anything, it is a miracle that Lusaka has been spared from the ravages of a cholera epidemic judging from the filth that was generated in the CBD.

The political will that Government has shown by moving against the hitherto untouchable street vendors must embolden councils throughout the country to join the crusade.

The country must return to the orderliness of yesteryears in which people traded from designated markets.

Those who did not either had hawker’s or peddler’s licenses that allowed them to move from place to place selling their wares.

This is not too much to ask.

As Mr. Nkombo commented in parliament yesterday, the new dawn administration campaigned on a platform of restoring orderliness in the country.

This is one clean-up that we think should not be politicized for the street vendors embrace people from across the political divide.  No one should cry foul that they have been discriminated again.

A plus for Mr. Nkombo is that former Lusaka Province Minister under the Patriotic Front Bowman Lusambo has commended him for the bold action to clear the Lusaka CBD of street vendors.

That, we think should be the spirit, to rise above petty political interests for the national good.

Thus, Government must keep the momentum up to bring sanity to the trading sector by removing street vendors and taking them to designated markets.


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