Our Counsel To The “Booth Victims” – Dr Nevers Mumba

Dr Nevers Mumba


We sympathise with those that have been hit hard by the booth clean-up exercise in Lusaka. We understand and appreciate the implications of this exercise on those that depend on them as a source of livelihood. We also understand that those who operate these booths usually live on a hand to mouth basis and that this action has immediately affected their ability to feed and look after themselves overnight. This is before we even consider the cost of investment in setting up the booths. They require the support of all of us.

However, we also are cognisant of the fact that their security, and public health are the responsibility of the government. It is an open secret that a lot of these booths along side our roads and in many different places in Lusaka do not have proper sanitary conditions. They lack proper toilets and running water.

This situation has been allowed to continue for such a long time now, that we have become accustomed to the proliferation of filth as a normal part of our lives.

This cannot be allowed to continue if we hope to be a nation that stands out as an attractive, and competitive tourist and investment destination.

We therefore do not support the setting up of booths without sanitary conditions. What we advocate for is that government must quickly find a way to provide designated slots for these services to be provided in a safe environment and within health and sanitation guidelines.

We do not wish to join this debate with the ebb and flow of political expediency and just support the idea that that we keep the booths in place, that we keep the dirt in place and that we just continue to exist like this because we need our young people to make that one dollar a day.

Who among us, would allow our own children to avoid a painful injection inflicted by the Doctor just because the child will feel pain and will cry? Surely, this clean up is as necessary, though painful, as that injection that an ailing child needs and needs urgently.

There are a lot of things that our country needs. A clean up is one of them. Fixing the econimy is one of them. Improving our health and access to education is one of them. Restructuring these sectors will be a gradual and painful process.

Let us not be scared to go through the pain. Let us encourage our young people to consider better places to operate from instead of inciting politically motivated revolting. Out of this great dissappointment, some of these young will end up going back to school. Out of this dissapppointed crowd, we will produce powerful teachers, doctors, nurses, sports personalities and entrepreneurs.

Young man, young woman, dry those tears, and pick up your pieces. That broken booth is evidence that you can do much greater things with your life.

A cleaner and greener city beggins with all of us. We will attract better investment, better work environments and better job opportunities by cleaning up our city.

Let’s do this.