PRESIDENT Edgar has ordered that all political party cadres be removed from markets and bus stations countrywide within two weeks.
According to the Zambia Daily, this is to restore sanity in public facilities.
This directive was given to Local Government, Home Affairs, and Transport and Communications ministries.
Local Government Charles Banda was quoted as saying President Edgar Lungu does not want to hear about any market trader or bus driver being harassed by party cadres.
Dr Banda said this on Tuesday when he addressed journalists shortly before holding a stakeholders’ meeting to find the way forward on the presence of political party cadres in bus stations and markets.
“The President has directed that we bring to a stop a situation which is causing discomfort in markets and bus stations.
“What we will come up with in this meeting will be binding because we have been given two weeks in which to take decisive action,” he said.
Others at the media briefing were Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo, his Transport and Communications counterpart Mutotwe Kafwaya and Patriotic Front (PF) deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri.
Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary Ed Chomba, his Home Affairs counterpart Leah Mutale, Flash Bus proprietor Ishmael Kankhara and Lusaka Province commissioner of police Nelson Phiri were also in attendance.
Dr Banda said the issue of people purporting to be political party cadres and levying market traders and bus drivers has to be halted.
He said the only institutions mandated to collect levies from markets and bus stations are local authorities.
“Unfortunately, the work of the council has been taken over by people who don’t even belong to the party (PF).
“What is going round is that it’s PF cadres, but if you go to Southern Province, there are no PF cadres but there are people in markets claiming to be cadres,” Dr Banda said.
He said Government’s stance is that markets and bus stations should be as comfortable as possible for those who operate from there, hence the need to restore sanity in those public facilities.
And Kafwaya said Government has tolerated illegalities for a long time and that it is now time to stop criminalities in public facilities.
“From now on, bus drivers will be allowed to transport people freely without any harassment from anyone. We have talked and talked but talking stops here,” he said.
Kampyongo said the operation to restore sanity in markets and bus stations ought to start immediately.
He said the PF leadership will be involved because some people use its name to extort money from innocent people.
Various stakeholders have raised concern about the presence of party cadres in markets and bus stations who charge traders and bus drivers.
On Monday, Flash bus drivers parked their vehicles at Chilenje Police Station in protest against some other bus drivers pretending to be PF members and were charging their colleagues K15 each.
Police arrested three bus drivers for conduct likely to cause the breach of peace.