FOLLOWING the clean-up programme carried out by the defence and security forces in Lusaka’s central business district (CBD) and townships in the past couple of weeks, all sections of the Zambian society, including those involved in various types of businesses, are expected to maintain high standards of cleanliness.
It is good that in other provinces, too, people have seen the need to have clean places wherever they are found; in markets, at workplaces, in their homes and churches, among others. Good reports about citizens uniting and working together to clean our surroundings should make us proud as a country.
We saw how unregulated and illegal business activities on the streets of Lusaka’s CBD, for example, contributed to the unsanitary conditions that eventually placed people’s lives in danger. This is besides the nauseating traffic congestion – during working days and on Saturdays – caused by illegal vendors who used to block some parts of the city’s roads.
Such are reasons why Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale on Sunday firmly stated that Government does not want any person to trade on the streets. It is not healthy for anyone to do so. Traders should be in designated places where they can sell their goods, just like the way shops in Kamwala and in the CBD itself conduct their business.
We hope that the ongoing relocation of some vendors who were removed from the streets to City Market, where they will operate from for four months, will be incident-free. Those that will not be accommodated in the market should exercise some patience as Government continues to prepare other alternative spaces for them.
As of yesterday, Government had created 2,500 trading places at City Market, which is commendable, and we believe more such will be created in other places.
City Market, Katungu Market, New Soweto, Mwamba Luchembe, Kabwata Market and others which Government has re-opened countrywide, after ensuring that they now meet acceptable hygiene standards, should never at any point relapse into their ‘old bad habits’.
To make sure that authorities are not forced to close these trading places again, the onus is on the marketeers themselves, as well as all those who buy products from them, to make the markets free of any filth. Drainages should always be clear of all manner of garbage. Moreover, humanity can easily follow natural health and safety laws in order to sustain lives. One does not need to be pushed around for them to do the right thing.
Kamwala shop owners should be commended for putting in efforts to paint their structures in a bid to enhance cleanliness in the area. Other businessmen and women in the country, including those who own grocery shops and other businesses in residential areas and markets, can emulate Kamwala traders and do everything possible just to ensure that their places are clean at all times to give shoppers confidence.
Though it is expected that, after witnessing everything that the country has just experienced, everyone will be responsible for taking care of hygiene and sanitary issues around us, there will always be others who will remain a nuisance to society.
This is where local authorities will have to come in and enact or reinforce laws that must deal with culprits. Also, on behalf of the many law-abiding citizens in the land, we can only appeal to the authorities, including security personnel, to keep a constant watch on markets and the streets; even extending their presence beyond 18:00 hours.