STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
THE Lusaka City Council has vowed that it will not sit idly by and watch the ‘Greater City of Lusaka’ turn into the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
Council spokesperson Brenda Katongola says authorities have declared “war” on illegal liquor business that is widespread in many townships of the country’s capital city.
“We want to bring sanity to Lusaka. We will not sit by and watch it turn into Sodom and Gomorrah. What we have begun – to rid the city of illegal activities – is a continuous operation,” Ms Katongola said shortly after an all-night exercise of closing illegal bars.
Fifteen bars in five townships were closed for flouting council regulations.
Shortly before midnight, council enforcement officers accompanied by State police began the operation on the infamous Devil Street in Emmasdale.
The police closed both ends of the street and literally “locked down” the area.
Almost nude sex workers were all over the area with some openly puffing smoke from suspected marijuana.
One sex worker, who seemed to have had a brush with police before, shouted invectives at them, saying it was their trading area.
The uncompromising heavily built police officers bundled her in the van but she continued emitting insults.
Five bars were closed there before the team proceeded to Shadreck in Matero township.
“There is a lot of noise pollution here apart from other illegalities, so we will confiscate their music system,” Ms Katongola told the five journalists who were witnessing the operation.
True to their training, police officers leaped out the vans and quickly positioned themselves to thwart any trouble from a drunken lot.
One trader, though, had guts. He stood his ground and claimed that it was his night club.
But he was educated by Ms Katongola, “Only a restaurant and liquor licence allows for 24 hours operation. A night club is supposed to close at midnight while bars operate from 10:00 hours to 22:00 hours.”
This reporter counted about 250 people who were arrested by police mainly for loitering around the bars.
Later, Ms Katongola said it is time people began reading terms and conditions of their business levies.
“As council, we wish to warn traders that they must adhere to the conditions set in their business levies. We will not relent in this exercise because we don’t want Lusaka to become a Sodom and Gomorrah,” Ms Katongola said.