Columnists Features

Just offer help, don’t steal from victims

FILE: Lusaka City Market up in flames. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

MANY traders who lost their goods and money when Lusaka City Market was recently gutted are still at pains to come to terms with their loss.
Trading at this Market was the main source of the livelihood for traders who conducted their businesses there.

Therefore, the burning of Lusaka City Market is a very sad development because many people have lost property worth millions of Kwacha.

The burning of the market is a story that has different faces. While the traders were weeping the loss of their goods, some unscrupulous people unfortunately took advantage of the situation to steal from the stands.
Thieves pretended to be good Samaritans or owners of stands in the market to steal whatever they could.
As the inferno swept through the market on July 4, goods that were being salvaged and taken to safety were instead stolen where they were left.
By the time the owners returned whatever property they had salvaged had been looted.
One wonders why these dishonest people could not abandon their evil ways for even for once to just offer help to those who were mourning their loss.
With Lusaka City Market literally being turned into a mourning site all the people who went to the country’s biggest modern market were expected to sympathise with the affected people.
Everyone who went to this market was expected to safeguard whatever goods were salvaged.
Those who decided to steal should have put themselves in the shoes of the affected instead of taking advantage of the inferno and commotion to execute their inhuman activities.
It is, however, heartening that organisations and individuals are coming on board and are making financial donations to the government to help the affected people and rebuild Lusaka City Market.
As if stealing from the traders is not enough other unscrupulous people are reported going round approaching organisations and individuals on pretext that they are helping the affected people.
Such activities should not be tolerated. Those involved should be brought to book for taking advantage of the plight of other people for their personnel gain.
No organisation or individual should be allowed to collect money in the name of helping victims of the fire unless with permission the relevant Government authority.
It is good that the technical committee of permanent secretaries on the build back better project has stopped the holding of any events to raise funds for rebuilding of the market.
According to the committee’s spokesperson Patrick Kangwa, there have been situations were money was raised but then misapplied.
The burning of the market has indeed affected many people directly and indirectly.
Whatever help is being rendered to victims to start all over is commendable because many people have been suffering.
The affected people need financial, spiritual and moral support.They also need encouragement and assurance that they will be back on their foot; even engaging in their businesses at a higher level than before.
The author is a senior reporter at Zambia Daily Mail.


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