Kambwili condemns ban on night travel on public transport, warns of looming civil unrest
Outspoken former Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili has broken ranks with his party, the ruling Patriotic Front by openly condemning its criticizing its recent ban on night travels for public buses.
In a long statement posted on his Facebook page, Dr Kambwili who is Roan PF MP said the move will hurt the majority poor people who voted for the PF.
He said the decision to ban buses from travelling after 21:00 hrs is extremely harsh and does not represent the values of the PF government.
Dr Kambwili said the decision will most certainly affect business and trading, especially on the part of traders who are fond of travelling through the night in order to do their orders early and get back to business in their respective areas.
He warned that there is a looming economic downturn and civil unrest with regards to job losses within this industry.
“Bus drivers have families and responsibilities just like the rest of us, it is unfair for them to lose their jobs especially those that usually do night shifts, the bus operators no longer have use for these employees, it means that the bus drivers being laid off no longer have a source of income, in these times of high standard of living people have to get by, now this decision is retrogressive because we are supposed to spur employment, create it at every given opportunity. This decision proves to be counterproductive with regards to that particular aspect, let us consider the common Zambian,” Dr Kambwili advised.
Below is Dr Kambwili’s full statement
MY CRY FOR THE COMMON ZAMBIAN
Dear esteemed Government, please take into consideration my valuable point that affects the livelihood of the common Zambian.
Ban of PSV Vehicles travelling at night
Let us remember the people that voted us in all that we do, I may not be a part of you but I will always be patriotic front at heart, the patriotic front is a pro poor party founded on high moral integrity and with a view to serve the poor and promote a great standard of living. Let us consider the fact that a high percentage of the people that voted us into power are the poor who have the world of hope in us, people that are waiting for us to deliver on our promises, they have the world of faith in us because they voted us in based on our lucrative and hopeful manifesto, a manifesto that we created with genuine hearts just as our fallen hero would have wanted.
First and foremost as an individual, as a leader, as a father and most importantly as a Zambian, I feel and I am sure the rest of the population feel that the decision to ban buses from travelling after 21:00 hrs is extremely harsh and does not represent the values of the patriotic front government. We were voted to improve the lives of our people and not to make them a whole lot difficult, and I strongly believe this decision adversely affects the common Zambian. They are a million and one reasons why this decision should be immediately reversed.
This decision will most certainly affect business and trading, especially on the part of traders who are fond of travelling through the night in order to do their orders early and get back to business in their respective areas. Banning buses travelling at night will make this a difficult feat and an impossible task for traders, traders could be travelling for 2 – 3 days on end, this would obviously affect their monthly income and in turn their livelihoods and responsibilities would be compromised, this is against our pro poor manifesto.
During elections we continuously encouraged people to travel to their respective polling stations in order for them to cast their votes, the bus business was booming during this period because Bana Mulenga wanted to desperately vote for PF, but she had to travel from Chingola to Luwingu, this was made possible because of bus availability. Now that the elections are over don’t we risk looking like we used the people? It is common knowledge that only 10% of the population are able to afford cars, the larger population do not own vehicles thus relying on public transport to commute. We are here to serve the poor but this decision seems to favour the rich.
There is a looming economic downturn and civil unrest with regards to job losses within this industry, bus drivers have families and responsibilities just like the rest of us, it is unfair for them to lose their jobs especially those that usually do night shifts, the bus operators no longer have use for these employees, it means that the bus drivers being laid off no longer have a source of income, in these times of high standard of living people have to get by, now this decision is retrogressive because we are supposed to spur employment, create it at every given opportunity. This decision proves to be counterproductive with regards to that particular aspect, let us consider the common Zambian.
With regards to hygiene and health, supposing a bus leaves Lusaka for the Copperbelt at 14:00 which is the very last time it can leave in order to arrive during the stipulated time. It has a break down or a tyre burst in the middle of nowhere, this break down is only attended to around 19 – 20:00. The bus cannot leave at that time, meaning therefore that women and children suffer the most, especially in the rain season we will subject our citizens to spend a night in ridiculous conditions and an unhealthy environment.
For example, with reference to women that may be going through a cycle, what happens to them if they spend 2 days on end on a bus, is that good for hygiene, how uncomfortable will that make them? If a child falls ill during that journey and they can only get to the clinic the following day, is that morally upright? Please let us consider the common Zambian, this decision is farfetched and does not contain the problem of accidents, if you look at the statistics you will find that most accidents or the most fatal accidents happen during the day, does that mean there’s a looming ban all together if accidents are the justification.
I urge government in conjunction with RTSA to come up with other alternatives to curb accidents. Let us provide a conducive environment for buses and lager vehicles to operate safely, for example road markings, our roads are good but most of them do not have sufficient road markings, simple lines that can save lives, often times the busses that get into accidents fail to negotiate curves due to the fact that they are not visible. Street lights at the entrance of each town, city or boma to improve visibility at night, another idea could be to enforce a law that each bus must have 2 or 3 drivers per route as to decrease tiredness when driving, the minister of transport should implore operators to have extra drivers and enforce stiff zero tolerance to alcohol. Once all these avenues have been exhausted, only then can this decision be justified. But for as long as the government is also being negligent, this decision remains a burden on the common Zambian.
On the part of trucks being banned too, this is not good for the economy because as things stand we rely on the roads to deliver goods from point A to B, for example delivering maize on behalf of FRA demands for good time in order to finish the orders on time, if the order exceeds its designated time frame that means the transporter loses out on millions of kwacha once tabulated.
That is money lost which can be spent and used to improve our fiscal landscape, the ban would mean that Copper would take 8 days to be delivered to another country as a pose to 2 or 3 days, time is an important component in business and I strongly believe this would have an adverse effect on the economic outlook of our beloved country, not forgetting that we are landlocked and a 3rd world country at the same time, so business is already hard enough without the one way we have to transport being delayed also.
In conclusion I am a pro PF person but I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless where I feel that the public is being hard done by. Take my concern seriously and know that it’s is on behalf of the common Zambian that does not have a loud enough voice to air out their grievances. I know that our president is a listening president and he will re consider this decision for the good of our country.
Yours in Service
Hon. Dr. Chishimba Kambwili MP