LUSAKA Mayor Chilando Chitangala has declared war on more than 3,000 foreigners trading in Lusaka Central Business District, most of whom she said are Zimbabweans and other foreigners riding on fake Zambian names to cover up their stay in the neighbouring country.
The Patriotic Front-PF politician warned that the Lusaka council in collaboration with the Immigration department will soon remove the foreigners from the city in order to restore sanity.
The statements by Chitangula come as nearly 200 000 Zimbabweans are also under the cosh across the Limpopo where their stay on special exemption permits is on the line, with just under 12 months left to regularise their stay or face being deported.
Speaking when she featured on Hot FM’s Breakfast show Friday, Chitangala said most of the foreigners are even using fake Zambian names to conceal their real identities and some of them sleep at Intercity Terminus thereby causing congestion at the station.
She said that while most of the foreigners hail from Zimbabwe, a good proportion are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
“They sell various goods such as second-hand clothes, biscuits, alcohol, plaiting hair among others.
“We have gathered that most of them do not have valid documents to trade and live in Zambia and have even applied for market stalls at City market,” she said.
The Mayor however did not mention the Asian and Middle Eastern business people who also trade on the same streets of Lusaka, raising accusations that she was being Afrophobic in her remarks.
Reacting to her comments, some readers on the Lusaka Times social platform expressed regret over her statements which they said could inflame xenophobia “which has so far been unheard of in Zambia”, one reader said.
Others alleged that she was raising the issue to divert attention from her Council colleagues, most of whom are from the ruling UPND and are believed to be angling to push her out.