By Guardian Reporter
Some residents of Lusaka’s Kuku, Chibolya and Misisi compounds have vowed to resist the PF government’s plans to demolish their houses because they don’t trust the government.
Albert Mushota, a bus driver who lives in Chibolya said in an interview that reports that government wants to raze down their houses are a source of concern.
Recently, Lusaka District Commissioner Ashell Kampengele told Journalists that government will go ahead and demolish thousands of houses in the three shanty compounds to pave way for expansion of the city.
“You can’t have a city with such types of houses meters away from the Central Business District, those houses will have to go,” Kampengele said.
But for Mushota and other residents interviewed, the move to demolish their structures is worrying especially that government is not mentioning anything about compensation for those whose houses will go down.
Mushota said the PF government has been known to backtrack on most of its promises adding that it becomes difficult for him to trust them on this one.
“I spent a lot of my savings to come up with that structure there (pointing to his two bedroom house) and it would be so unfair for anyone to come up and demolish it,” Mushota complained.
“For me, I’m scared that these guys in government might do a Don’t Kubeba on us and leave us stranded.”
Lillian Banda (39) who runs a small tailoring business at a nearby market in Chibolya said her family is worried that the demolition exercise might leave her family in the cold because details of possible compensation have not been made clear.
“I really don’t think this things will work out properly because the government is known for breaking promises, for me, I will not allow my house to be taken down,” Banda vowed.
According to Kampengele, the demolition exercise shall commence as soon as certain logistics are put in place.
“We will move in shortly, at least before the rains start,” Kampengele said.
He said the demolition exercise is aimed at decongesting areas near the main city center.
Kampengele said, “Some of our people are living like animals in these compounds, no water, no sanitation, no nothing, how do people live like that?”
“The population has grown, there too many people in this city, we will have to take some of the people to Chongwe, Chieftainess Nkomeshya has already agreed to give us some land for the resettlement of the people.”
But Lusaka Provincial Minister Gerry Chanda contradicted Kampengele’s assertions saying government does not have any intentions of demolishing any house.
“It is news to me, as Minister I’m not aware of such plans but what I know is that the PF government is not demolishing any structure,” Colonel Chanda said.
He said the issue has not even been discussed by any structure of the PF government.
“We are busy putting in place strategies to help the Zambian people and displacing them because of demolishing their houses is not part of the strategy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lusaka City Council Assistant Public Relations Manager Mulundu Habeenzu confirmed that some shanty compounds in Lusaka will be demolished in line with the Lusaka Master plan, a JICA supported urban improvement project for Lusaka.
“I can confirm that the compensation details have not been worked out but what is true is that the houses will have to go, remember we also have the ring roads project and it is important that we get cooperation from the affected residents,” Habeenzu said.
The issue of demolishing shanty towns was a heated campaign issue leading up to the September 20 general elections with some video messages showing then opposition PF leader Michael Sata addressing a rally in Kanyama saying he will go ahead and demolish the houses.
The messages were lambasted by Mr. Sata’s supporters who labeled them as part of propaganda to decampaign Mr. Sata and the PF.