Letter to the Editor

Release those poor fishmongers

Dear editor,
THE editorial comment in your Thursday December 4, 2014 edition of the Daily Mail made interesting reading.
I totally agree with your suggestion to the police that they release the seven fishmongers they arrested in Samfya on Monday when the ban on fishing came into effect.
Such overzealousness by our law enforcement officers will only widen the gulf between the government and the people.
While we appreciate the need to enforce the fishing ban, I feel it was unfair for the Department of Fisheries and the police to confiscate almost two tonnes of dry fish from the fish mongers.
The fish was caught long before the ban came into effect. What the government officers were expected to do was to help the fish traders to obtain necessary conveyance permits.
These are mostly poor people who conduct their trade in very difficult circumstances. They have to risk their lives by crossing Lake Bangweulu in small, overloaded vessels and brave mosquitoes for months.
It is cruel to deprive them of their source of income just like that and detain them at the same time.
I am appealing to Luapula Province acting permanent secretary Joyce Nsamba to intervene in this matter and facilitate the release of those poor people and their fish.
The officers were fully aware that the fish they were confiscating was not harvested during the fishing ban and one wonders what their motive is.

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