Charcoal traders face armed police

Armed Police Officers in riot gear were yesterday deployed in Garden Compound to monitor the movement of charcoal traders from their site to pave way for the construction of a police post.

The residents woke up to a rude shock yesterday morning when they were greeted by heavily armed police officers in riot gear who were keeping vigil in the area.

The presence of the police officers sent fear in most traders who abandoned their merchandise and stood afar to study the situation.

The charcoal traders have been resisting leaving the market place to pave way for the construction of a police post and a clinic after the residents demolished and burnt the police post a few years ago when word went round that a suspect had died in the police cell after being beaten by police officers.

But their resistance was met with directives and warning by the area Member of Parliament Jean Kapata who ordered them to leave the place or face the wrath of the police before Monday.

The residents who attended the meeting to find the way forward on the matter on Thursday in Garden complained that they voted for the PF in order to address the sufferings of the people of Zambia and the decision to displace them from their traditional market was going against what the PF had promised t o empower the poor people.

The meeting which was attended by both male and females, rejected the attempts by Kapata to shut them up saying even if she uses the police, they would meet her in the next elections.

“Ba minister we voted for you in order to help the poor people, to support the people people’s aspirations in governing  themselves, but your approach is worse than the MMD, you everyday victimise people and going against what you had promised many Zambians.

This is not a new market, why can’t you take the police post to the place where you want the market to shift to?” asked the attendants.

And a check by the Daily Nation yesterday afternoon  found that a horde  of police officers in riot gear still keeping vigil of the area while their three police Landcrusiers pickups were parked.

Some charcoal traders had also moved to the new trading area which is adjacent to the Lusaka Water and sewerage company purification system in Garden Compound.

“We have been chased from there and you know with the PF, they cannot give us more time so we decided to come and offload the charcoal here to avoid problems next week on Monday. They have given us an ultimatum. We are not used to t his life we are experiencing now of military nature,” they said.