The current shortage of mealie meal on the Copperbelt has reportedly resulted in some people trekking to Lusaka to buy the commodity, forcing the prices to start going up in the Capital City.
A visit to Lusaka’s Inter City Bus Terminus revealed that some buses were laden with bags of mealie meal for commuters from the Copperbelt. In Lusaka, shop-owners disclosed that they had quickly run out of the commodity which was being sold at the old price of K49,000.
“This is the last stock we are selling at this price. What we are ordering now from tomorrow we will be selling from K55,000 and above,” one trader in Lusaka’s Chilenje area said.
The Patriotic Front government has made a fiasco of the current maize marketing season, resulting in shortages of maize being experienced by millers. The situation looks set to get worse as the PF government has failed to pay farmers in almost all districts of the country, forcing some peasant farmers to stage protests at government offices.
Bereft of a solution to the developing food security disaster, the government has been clutching at straws, blaming the opposition and traders for the mealie meal supply problems and escalating prices.
In a typical UNIP style, the ruling PF in Lusaka Province has accused some milling companies of creating an artificial shortage of Mealie meal as part of a scheme to bring down President Michael Sata’s government.
Lusaka Province PF Youth Chairman Kennedy Kamba claimed that the party in the province had information that some “politically charged” millers have teamed up with the opposition to create an artificial shortage of Mealie meal.
Mr. Kamba said the current shortage of the staple food is purely artificial and accused the opposition and millers of playing with people’s lives.
He warned Millers in Lusaka not to emulate their colleagues on the Copperbelt adding that PF Youths will deal sternly with millers that will be sabotaging the economy for political expedience.
“We know the opposition is involved. They want the people to turn against President Sata, as youths in Lusaka, we will not sit and watch the situation deteriorate. We are warning them to stop,” Mr. Kamba said.
Earlier this week, government blamed opposition parties for increased street vending in the country.
Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo urged the opposition not to use street vendors for their selfish gains, as the Government was determined to maintain cleanliness in the city ahead of the UN tourism global summit.