LUSAKA Mayor Chilando Chitangala has reiterated that the more than 3,000 foreigners vending on the streets in Lusaka Central Business District, most of whom she said are Zimbabweans, must be moved from the streets.
However, she has climbed down on her earlier utterances that the City of Lusaka was going to set the Zambian Immigration department to possibly deport the vendors. Instead, Chitangala said the local authority will moved the vendors to designated stalls.
The Patriotic Front-PF politician drew the ire of many when she accused African foreigners of riding on fake Zambian names to cover up their illegal stay in Zambia, but did not mention the Asian and Middle Eastern business people who also trade in Lusaka.
Despite warnings that her utterances might trigger Afrophobic and xenophobic attacks in the otherwise largely peaceful Zambia, Chitangala has dug in, saying it was her duty as the custodian of the City of Lusaka to restore order in that country’s capital.
“We have a big problem of street vending in the central business district and are trying to organise them. However, we are receiving resistance, which we find unfortunate.
“From our 2018 to 2019 counting, we found that we not only have Zambian street vendors, but a good number of our friends from neighbouring countries too are coming here and trading on the streets,” she said.
“That includes Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Congolese. It’s not only Zimbabwe. We are trying to organise our vendors by trying to move them back to their market stalls, and also provide new trading spaces.”
Governing party UPND spokesperson Joseph Kalimbwe warned Chitangala against “issuing statements which have the potential to cause xenophobic attacks on African nationals in the city.”
“The Mayor of Lusaka must not be issuing statements which have the potential to cause xenophobic attacks on African nationals in the city. Why blame fellow Africans?
“There are Chinese and Indian nationals who trade in Lusaka but no one speaks or threatens deportation on them !!!” Kalimbwe said.