NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has charged that the country will be lowering its standards if a minister like Bowman Lusambo is authorised to harass people buying more than one bag of mealie-meal to be food secure.
Kambwili, who described Lusambo’s behaviour as foolish, said companies with trading licenses could not regulate customers with regards to the quantity of goods they need to purchase.
Recently, mealie-meal has been scarce in Lusaka and other parts of the country forcing retailers to peg a 25Kg bag of the commodity at more than K180.
On Saturday March 14, the Lusaka Province minister ordered the arrest of youths who wanted to buy more bags of mealie-meal at Shoprite Matero.
The minister, in the company of armed police officers, stormed the super market and ordered a dozen youths he found there to sit down and interrogated them about where they were taking the mealie-meal. One of the youths responded “tipeleka kunyumba, (we are taking it home).”
But Lusambo did not consider their explanations but instead ordered the police in his company to lead the youths away and lock them up.
Kambwili said Lusambo was behaving in a despicable manner by ordering the arrest of youths.
“Certainly, Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo is misbehaving. We have stooped so low as a country to allow a minister to go and harass people in shops,” he said.
“We have the police, council police, in fact, it’s not even a question of Zambia police. Selling of mealie-meal is an issue of trading licences. Trading licences are monitored by the municipal councils and the city councils. There is no way that we can have the whole minister going to sit in Shoprite telling people not to buy two or three bags of mealie-meal,” Kambwili said.
He said it was unwise for Lusambo to go to stores and monitor how many bags of mealie-meal each individual would buy.
“Then that minister has nothing to do and that minister can only be described as a fool. And I think Lusambo is the biggest fool this country has ever seen,” he said.
“To illustrate that Bowman is a fool, he doesn’t even know he is just a provincial minister, not a cabinet minister. When he was appearing on a morning show on Muvi Television, he said he belonged to a cabinet of President Edgar Changwa Lungu. He is not a cabinet minister, he doesn’t even belong to the cabinet.”
Kambwili wondered which law Lusambo was using to justify that he belonged to cabinet, as provincial ministers were not cabinet ministers.
“So that is the problem of dealing with ignorant people in positions of ministers. So he doesn’t know that he is not a cabinet minister. The law does not define him as such, he’s only a provincial minister,” said Kambwili.