The Patriotic Front (PF) has now accused the opposition UPND of being behind the riots that have rocked Kanyama township in Lusaka.
Soldiers have been deployed to quell the riots which has been sparked by the move by government to ban street trading following the outbreak of cholera.
In a statement issued Friday, the PF says it was not suprised because Kanyama is a stronghold of the opposition UPND.
WE CONDEMN THE RIOTOUS BEHAVIOUR BY THE VENDORS IN LUSAKA.
Lusaka, Zambia, 12th January 2017 – We are not surprised with the behaviour of the handful of street vendors who this morning started running battles with the Police in Kanyama. Kanyama is a UPND stronghold, it is therefore highly suspected that the political party is involved in these disturbances.
Such behaviour is unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest terms.
A few days ago, Zambians woke up to good news that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is working tirelessly to address the cholera situation and we expected the vendors to support him, but alas they have other ideas of distabilising his efforts which are beginning to bear fruit.
We want to urge the street vendors to have some sanity and behave like grown up men and women, as we work towards bringing sanity in the country and as a party given the mandate by right thinking members of our society we will not tolerate such foolish conduct.
In fact, we call on the Police to arrest anyone who will start a riot because they have been removed from the street. As we said earlier these people starting riots belong to the opposition, our members know that the actions the PF Government has taken are there to safeguard life.
As a party in government, we have been empowering marketeers with a lot of money throughout the country and those who cannot survive the current economic conduit when there is cholera must find alternatives and not hold us and His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at ransom.
Since the outbreak of Cholera, we have seen statements intent with political malice, aimed at forcing us as a party in government to sympthaise with the street vendors but we will not do that as we want to combat cholera and ensure sanity in our country. They are trading illegally and supporting street vending is like supporting a thief, street vending is illegal and we shall not tolerate law breaking with impunity, its that simple.
And anyone found wanting in these riotous behaviour must be sternly dealt with by our police because street vendors have on several occasions been told to leave the streets but they are adamant.
As a party, we are identifying lasting solutions to the cholera challenge but we will not be forced by street vendors to allow them to go back on the streets. The street vendors must find other livelihoods or trade in designated places and not on the streets. Until that happens, we are asking police to deal with these law breakers sternly.
PF Media Director