STREET vending is increasingly becoming a big nuisance in Lusaka. Things have clearly gotten out of hand. The situation is even becoming dangerous for the street vendors themselves who have to share space on the streets of the city of Lusaka with motorists. Without much thinking, without serious analysis of the situation, some people are blaming this veritable chaos on Michael Sata who had stopped the Ministry of Local Government from clearing vendors off the streets. But truthfully, is it Michael who has created street vendors?
Is it Michael who is responsible for the lack of formal jobs that has driven our people to street vending for them to simply belong to the living? It is true street vending is a nuisance, it is inconveniencing many people in so many ways.
But for those poor people, in the present circumstances, street vending is their only way to survive. We can't talk to them about the inconveniences of street vending if we are not offering them an alternative way to survive. And we don't think that in his heart of hearts Michael likes to see his people humiliated, dehumanised by living, surviving on the street.
It is something that must actually be agonising him. Michael must be losing a lot of sleep over this issue. By defending the rights of these people to earn a living on the streets, if that's all they can do for now, Michael did not in any way suggest that they should be on the street forever and in this form.
Michael is simply a responsible politician who did not want to push people to nowhere. Michael is an experienced politician. He was local government minister in the early 1990s and had to deal with this problem of street vending.
Michael implemented a government policy to get rid of vendors from the streets of our towns. It failed. The police were set on their own brothers and sisters who had to earn a living. And some of the street vendors came from police camps, were dependants of relatives of police officers.
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