Zambia’s Lusaka mayor Chilando Chitangala has said the Lusaka council in collaboration with the Immigration department would soon descend on the foreigners trading in the capital city’s central business district while riding on fake Zambian names to cover up their illegal stay in the neighbouring country.
In a recent interview with a local radio station, Chitangala said 3 000 foreigners, mostly Zimbabweans, would be removed to restore sanity in the city.
Her remarks came as nearly 200 000 Zimbabweans are facing deportation from South Africa, where their stay on special exemption permits is on the line, with just under 12 months left to regularise their stay.
Other targeted foreigners in Zambia are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Chitangala is quoted as having said:
They sell various goods such as second-hand clothes, biscuits, alcohol, plaiting hair among others.
Chitangala added that illegal markets had sprouted in Lusaka due to unlicensed traders.
Chitangala said street vending in the CBD was causing chaos adding that efforts to organise the traders had been resisted. She added:
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.
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.
But Zambia’s ruling United Party for National Development spokesperson Joseph Kalimbwe warned Chitangala against “issuing statements which have the potential to cause xenophobic attacks on African nationals in the city”. Kalimbwe said:
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 & Indian nationals who trade in Lusaka but no one speaks or threatens deportation on them!!!
Analysts say the effects of bad governance are forcing Zimbabweans to migrate to other neighbouring countries where they are ill-treated.