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Is it legal or illegal?

TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
IT SEEMS the catchword nowadays is illegal. Many people are being implicated in illegal activities. It would appear that the only thing which is legal is going to bed.
As the bemba saying goes, “umunthu mubi, awamafye nga nalala, panthu nga nalala tapanga ifyongo” meaning, “A human being is innately evil, he only becomes peaceful when asleep.”
If you think the law has also gone to sleep, wait until you hear police reports about illegal activities.
I know you shudder in the face of all the bad news the police spokesperson brings to the fore about illegal this and illegal that.
Journalists, me included, have feasted on this steady diet of illegal activities from some people. I know you follow the news and wonder where the world is going, as responsible Zambian should.
Forget about illegal immigrants who come to our country packed like pilchard tinned fish in containerised vehicles looking for greener pastures in this part of the world.
And forget about traders who operate from the corridors in towns or places not officially-designated to them.
These are usually called vendors because they assign themselves places to trade from, ignoring legally designated markets.
Before council officials know it, their trading areas would be stinking like a thousand bottoms breaking wind because of unsanitary conditions created by crowded people. This is what illegality can do to a place.
What about the world’s oldest trade in human flesh poltely called sex work. Despite not being recognised, it has endured civilisation, forcing some countries in the world to change its status from illegal to legal.
In Zambia, it is illegal but clients of the sex trade range from VIPs (some of them law-makers and enforcers) to the low class because it is a special service. Even some policemen who are supposed to make sure that it remains illegal ignore the law to partake in the dubious activity.
Every year, Government bans fishing from December to March to allow the fish to breed but that does not stop people venturing into the rivers to fish – illegally.
In the education sector, people start primary, secondary schools, open colleges and sometimes universities without the authority of Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training, thus being declared illegal.
The transport sector is probably the second worst sector after sex work business because we have hundreds of unregistered taxis operating as pirates because of their illegality.
Pirate taxis are hunted down by Road Transport and Safety Agency and traffic police but the illegality is far from being over.
Every week, we hear reports of several Congolese, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Eritreans being arraigned in courts for not having legal documents to justify their stay in the country and are thus classified as illegal immigrants.
Illegal migration is a funny old game. When you are an illegal immigrant, everything you do in a foreign country is illegal. Going to the toilet is illegal – what you leave in there becomes illegal.
But the good part about this exercise is that you cannot know whether the human waste is from an illegal immigrant or indigenous citizen.
The liquor business has not been spared as from time immemorial, illicit or illegal beers have continued to exist side by side with the legal liquors.
With the construction sector booming, demand for timber in the country and beyond has risen, thus leading to the illegal harvesting, selling and exporting of Mukula tree.
Matero township was lately famous for having a booming industry of manufacturing all sorts of documents ranging from national registration cards, birth certificates, education and other certificates – all illegal.
The registrar of societies has also been busy shutting down houses of worship of all manner – for being illegal too.
The soccer fraternity has had its own share of people purporting to be agents and have been branded illegal because they are not FIFA certified.
When a marriage faces turbulence, one partner may request parents from both parties or even the church to intervene.
When parents arrive, half the time you hear them saying they do not recognise the marriage and thus declare it illegal because no procedure was followed to legalise the union.
When aggrieved workers decide to go on strike, their action is deemed illegal because maybe no dispute was declared.
With all these illegal activities, you don’t know who is doing the right thing. Almost everything is illegal.
bjboydphiri@yahoo.com

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