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73 bars forcibly closed

Lusaka City Council prosecutes owners, block Kachasu Dens

LINDA SOKO TEMBO writes

@SunZambian

THE Lusaka City Council (LCC) has closed 73 bars during the first two weeks of the Presidential directive for all bars, night clubs and Casinos to close as part of the measures to fight the spread of Coronavirus.

LCC public relations manager George Sichimba said that the affected bars were, found operating contrary to the Presidential directive and the Statutory Instruments No. 21 and 22 of 2020.

In a statement Mr sichimba said that the LCC Public Health Department had recommended all the 73 bar owners for prosecution in the Lusaka Fast Track Court for defying the Presidential directive on the closure of bars.

He said the period under review came into effect at midnight on March 26 to April 9 and that during that period, a combined team of Council Police, Zambia Police and Public Health Inspectors conducted operations in various parts of the city to check on compliance.

“During these operations, a cumulative total number of 73 bars were found operating contrary to the directives,” he said.

“The affected bar owners have failed to account for their actions hence the decision to recommend them to the Department of Legal Services for prosecution.”

Mr Sichimba said that LCC had also recommended to the Provincial Liquor Licensing Board for possible revocation of liquor licences for the 73 truant bar owners.

He said the team had also raided several “Kachasu Dens” resulting in about 600 litres of the illicit brew being seized and disposed of.

“The team widened its operations and with tips from concerned members of the public that some people had resorted to gathering and drinking Kachasu from makeshift stalls locally known as “Tuntemba” and Shebeens following the closure of established bars and other beer drinking establishments,” he said

Mr Sichimba said that operators of the illegal businesses had even resorted to the propagation of false messages that drinking Kachasu and using it as hand sanitiser would prevent people from contracting Coronavirus.

He said this an assertion had been dismissed with the contempt it deserves by health experts.

Meanwhile, Mr Sichimba said that four church gatherings were disrupted during the period under review for public gatherings of more than 50 people and for not observing social distancing of at least one metre apart.

He said that other activities conducted by the local authority during the period under review were the cleaning and disinfection of public places such as markets and bus stations, community sensitisation campaigns, disinfection of international trucks and buses and enhanced waste management.

Mr Sichimba said that with the extension of the Presidential directives by another 14 days, LCC would continue to participate actively in the enforcements and activities aimed at combating the spread of Coronavirus.

He said the local authority was therefore appealing to liquor traders and patrons alike to observe public health guidelines for there safety and the safety of others.

Mr Tembo said that the success of the fight against the spread of Coronavirus depended on both personal and collective discipline if the fight was to be won.

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