Twachula! Abana balafwa nensala, teti tuleshita ubunga K120, Kitwe’s Chisokone marketeers told President Edgar Lungu on Thursday when he visited the trading area.
The marketeers, mostly women, said the current prices of mealie meal were beyond the reach of many who were struggling to feed their families and asked President Lungu to reduce the cost of the staple food.
The Head of State toured Chiskone around 16:00 hours to check on the newly constructed market shelter at Chisokone B.
As President Lungu was passing through the market amid tight security, many traders and shoppers shouted from a distance, asking him to reduce the price of mealie-meal.
“Twachula! Abana balafwa nensala. Teti tuleshita ubunga K120. Ba kateka twapapata lolesheniko pa bunga. Nga mulefwaya abantu bamitemwe, bwesheni ubunga (We have suffered! Our children will die of hunger. We can’t be buying one bag of mealie meal at K120. Mr President please, look at the prices of mealie meal. If you want people to like you or support you, reduce the prices),” a trader, Eunice Mulemfwe, shouted as President Lungu only nodded and continued greeting the people.
Later after President Lungu left, Catherine Muwelu, a trader, told journalists to tell the President not to ignore the cries of the people on the cost of mealie-meal because it was just a fact that many of them could not afford to buy a bag of mealie-meal and were going through untold suffering.
“Everything is expensive yes but mealie meal is life in Zambia. It is too high and the majority poor cannot now afford to buy this staple food. People are sleeping on empty stomachs,” said Muwelu who also urged President Lungu to reduce school fees as they were also too high to be met by a poor parent only trading at Chisokone.
Another trader, Salome Kapumbu, appealed to the local authority to be honest and sincere in their work and not to mislead President Lungu.
“The market is full of filth, it’s only because of the President’s visit, that’s when we saw the local authority clearing the market and the sprayed lime on the dumping site for the Chisokone market, hiding the reality from him. We wish the President was coming here every week, this place could have been a nice trading place,” said Kapumbu.
Two weeks ago, President Lungu sent his presidential affairs minister Freedom Sikazwe to hand over K270,000 which he contributed towards the construction of the trading shelter.