Editor's Comment

Lusaka deserves fresh air

FILE: ZAMBIA Army personnel cleaning up a section of the Lusaka central business district. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

IT IS the wish of most Lusaka residents to see the serenity being witnessed in the capital city to continue.

Suddenly, the central business district is calm with traffic flowing almost without disruption.
Lusaka has never been this clean in a very long time – thanks to the clean-up exercise being done by a consortium of stakeholders, which include local government authorities and the military.
Lusaka residents – both pedestrians and motorists – were fatigued by the filthy, unnecessary traffic jams and the foul smell.
The chaos which has been associated with the capital city has vanished in a blink of an eye.
Government has deployed the military to help clean up selected areas of the capital city because of cholera, which unfortunately has become an annual occurrence.
There is no glory or pride in having cholera every rainy season because this disease is associated with filth.
Despite the massive investment Government has made in infrastructural development, there has been little or no change of mindset.
This ‘business as usual’ attitude is the reason cases of cholera shot to a worrisome high of over 2,000 and claiming over 40 lives.
Even as lives were being lost, there was no sensitivity, especially among traders, to help in cleaning up the premises where they operate from.
We expected traders to start tiding up their premises individually on a daily basis and working together in groups to ensure that markets and ntembas (make-shift stalls) were very clean.
Now that we have seen what can and should be done to make markets and bus stations clean, it is our hope that people who trade and operate in these areas will take up the task of keeping them tidy.
We expect traders to set aside significant time every day to clean the surroundings and we expect the local authorities to remain awake and ensure that they vigilantly monitor and maintain the new standards being set.
We also hope that this is the end of street vending in Lusaka, especially in the central business district. Haphazard street vending, which included the sale of motor vehicles, which took up parking space, immensely contributed to making the capital city not only filthy but helped in the spread of cholera.
There are no toilets for street vendors and one wonders where these people go to answer the inevitable call of nature. There is no need to wonder anymore. They have to move to designated trading places that do have toilets and a sufficient supply of clean water.
Lusaka must get back on track to being a garden city.
Street vending had reached a level where shop owners who operate legally and pay taxes to Government and levy to the local authority were being blocked by the illegal traders.
Despite being one of the most populous cities in the country, Lusaka is not short of trading places. The problem, however, is that every trader wants to conduct their business by the roadside.
This has meant that some stands in markets countrywide are being deserted for the roadsides.
We hope that traders and civic authorities will help enforce President Lungu’s directive that there should be no more make-shift stalls over drainages.
Besides, we expect owners of business premises like the beer belts in various townships to ensure that their frontages are kept clean at all times.
Lusaka deserves a permanent breath of fresh air.

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