Sun Reporter writes
Aggrieved Kabwe traders yesterday hailed insults at the council names with some threatening to commit suicide at their offices after a combined team of council and state police officers went on rampage razing mobile service and trading booths around Central Business District (CBD).
The move by the Kabwe municipal council comes after the failure by traders to have their businesses formalized despite being engaged by the local authority to do so in March last year.
The affected traders accused the council of respecting foreign traders more than the local among other things and have threatened to protest if the council continues to terrorize their businesses without warning.
One of the affected traders, Watson Mwale said during a community concern phone-in-program on KNC Radio that he was disappointed with the council’s action of breaking into his trading booth and getting goods among them cooking oil, sugar and washing powder.
Mr Mwale explained that he followed the procedure from the council of formalizing his operations but despite doing so he was one of the traders whose goods have been confiscated by the council.
“In January last year, they did the same, I spent about K10,000 to put up that booth. Two weeks ago they come saying pay the licence fee and I paid through Indo Bank but today they come to get my goods. Have they given me money for them to get my goods, enough is enough,” said Mr Mwale.
He wondered where the Country was headed saying foreign traders were respected more than Zambians.
Mr Mwale has threatened to commit suicide right at the council offices and dared the police to arrest him for wanting to end his life because of being victimized.
“Am very much disappointed today and I think today it will be news and the police are listening, I will commit suicide pa council apa pene, that I promise, am telling you the truth. I think the police are listening, if they want let them come and arrest me” said Mr Mwale.
Another concerned resident, Rasoshe said on the same phone-in Radio program that if the council continues carrying out such operations without warning, there will be protests in the district.
He has accused the council of failing to do their duties as seen from the bad state of roads in the district.
“We want to condemn the move taken by the council. Why should the council carry out an operation without a warning. If things continue like this, we will see protests. Am telling you, ba council you are failing to do your duties, roads in the compounds are bad,” said Rasoshe.
The concerned residents have also challenged the council to tell them were they have been taking the goods that they have been confiscating from the traders on daily basis.
They said if only the council could tell them where they dump the goods they confiscate from them, they could go to collect and use them because hunger is what has taken them to the streets.
Let them “council” tell us where they take these goods, Bama poka bantu vintu vambili, bama vipeleka kuti? Chishala chabo? Maybe some of us will go there mukutola because tuli nensala that’s why we are in the streets selling things,” said another trader.
But Kabwe town clerk, Ronald Daka said at a briefing yesterday that the council was within its mandate to uproot the booths that were operating illegally so as to maintain sanity in the CBD.
Mr Daka further said the council was also looking at the issue of public health after observing that some traders were throwing rubbish anyhow.
“We initially engaged them since March last year so that they go to the council and formalize their operations but they never responded,” said Mr Daka.