Editor's Comment

Be tough on cadres

Hakainde Hakainde

SHORTLY after taking office six months ago, banning cadreism in bus stations and markets was one of the major pronouncements President Hakainde Hichilema made. This milestone decision was well received by bus operators, drivers, conductors, traders, travellers and customers.
This is because cadres were a nuisance, especially during the 10-year rule by the Patriotic Front. Cadres did not only reap where they did not sow, but inconvenienced bus drivers, conductors and traders by interfering with their day-to-day operations apart from extorting their hard-earned money.
It was inconceivable that cadres went to the extent of grabbing merchandise from farmers and traders who did not have money to give them.
Cadres forced farmers to sell their products at a price far much lower than they invested. Bus owners were being charged outrageous fees and anyone who failed to pay was not allowed to load passengers at stations controlled by these cadres. Bus operators perceived to be loyal to the opposition were not allowed to operate from certain bus stations. The collection of cash by cadres deprived both the local authorities and Zambia Revenue Authority of the much-needed money needed for service delivery and development of the country. It is very clear that the cadres are driven by greed. They are not interested in the welfare of the country but filling their pockets. The presence of the cadres in public facilities is a recipe for tension. Bus stations and markets belong to all citizens irrespective of political affiliation. Recently, Inspector General of Police Lemmy Kajoba warned that he would send his officers to flush out the cadres. His remarks come in the wake of reports that these hooligans are drifting back into these markets and bus stations. They are evidently refusing to accept the reality that it is ‘game over’ for them. Their lucrative business was illegal and it remains so. Some of them are trying to soften authorities by ‘rebranding’ from green to red – that is changing from the colours of the then governing party, the Patriotic Front to that of the current party in power, the United Party for National Development. This should not be tolerated. No matter what colour they change to, illegalities must never again be allowed in these public places. There of course could be long-serving UPND cadres who would want to enjoy the fruits of their contributions to the change of government by taking over these outlets. It is good that President Hakainde Hichilema and other Government as well as UPND leaders have made it very clear that the rule of law will prevail. This means markets and bus stations will not be in the control of cadres. Maintaining law and order in these places requires a constant police presence. They should remain at these posts for as long as it takes for the cadres to realise that they just have to think of other means of making money. It should be of concern too for the UPND that some of their members, as well as others masquerading as such, are still trying to control revenue in markets and bus stations. These cadres are tarnishing the image of the party and by defying the President’s directive they certainly are not adding any value to the party and the nation as a whole. Cadres are good for party mobilisation but if they get out of control they become a nuisance. If their misdeeds are tolerated, they cause serious social and economic stability.
That should not be allowed to happen.

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