Stop criminalising street vending – SP (Zambia)

SOCIALIST Party general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali says criminalising street vending is not a solution to the PF government’s pathetic leadership.

In a press statement, Dr Musumali regretted media reports of November 5 that “over 800 street-vendors had either been arrested, prosecuted, sentenced or jailed for periods of about two weeks by the Lusaka Fast-Track Court at the PF-led and controlled Lusaka City Council, which court was specifically set up to deal with the growing ‘problem’ of street-vending in Zambia’s capital.”

He recalled that in April this year, the number of street vendors arrested and charged stood at 40.

“[But] today it is over 800! We thought the Fast-Track Court would have reduced the issue of street-vending but clearly this class issue refuses to be wished away that easily,” Dr Musumali stated.
“Other than the brutal and destructive manner in which the Lusaka City Council police demolish business structures and ransack merchandise for those trading along the streets of Lusaka, we note that about 53 of these [street vendors] served jail-time after they failed to pay the court fines for engaging in business practices that are meant to deal with bread and butter issues for these street-vendors who can rightly be categorised as working class.”

He stated that being a working class political formation, the Socialist Party vanguard leadership had not “for once” removed their eyes from growing attacks on the working class around the country by a pro-business PF regime.

Dr Musumali added that the PF government’s major pre-occupation was to shroud its leadership inefficiencies by criminalising a working class activity like trading on the streets, “especially for the thousands of workers joining the growing army of the jobless working class.”

“Mr Edgar Lungu and his pro-business Cabinet should not think that criminalising street-vending will be a magic wand against the self-destructing economic crises that the capitalist ideology that they are pandering to create in capitalist societies like Zambia,” Dr Musumali stated.

He stated further that in view of the blatant attack on the working class street-vendors by Zambia’s capitalist bureaucrats across the political divide, the Socialist Party would continue organising, educating and agitating among the Zambian working class masses.

“To the struggling Zambian workers, there is no other way to building towards a working class revolutionary outcome other than critically studying the class struggle and proceed via a mass-led collective resolve,” he stated.
“On this score, the Socialist Party 2021 presidential candidate and party deputy general secretary, Dr Fred M’membe made it very clear that no one will be left behind in the Socialist Party’s political education drive, which is the mainstay of the workers party’s revolutionary pursuit.”

Dr Musumali stated that it was time to stop the criminalisation of work done by fellow human beings.

“Work is a social process which must be harnessed for the benefit of those who toil and not disrupted in order to pave way for multinational mercantile capitalists,” stated Dr Musumali.

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