Government says it is concerned about the disruption to traffic flow that is caused by congestion when protests by truck drivers are undertaken at Kasumbalesa in Zambia.
Transport and Logistics Minister, Frank Tayali, said efforts are being made to ensure that the situation at Kasumbalesa in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) was resolved amicably through dialogue with all concerned stakeholders.
“Government is aware of the anticipated and planned work protest by truck drivers using the Zambian route into the Democratic Republic of Congo slated for August 15th, 2023.
“Information gathered so far, is that the intended work protest is meant for truck drivers destined for the DRC to boycott entering that country for alleged unfair treatment of the drivers in the DRC,” Tayali said in a statement on Saturday.
He said in the event that SADC drivers felt strongly or remained compelled to protest, they were requested to ensure that such protests were undertaken in their respective countries and not in Zambia.
Tayali stressed that government did not expect to see any disturbances on the roads concerning the matter at hand.
He, therefore, called upon the truck drivers’ representatives under COMESA, SADC and EAC to adequately advise their members not to use Zambia as a base to stage any form of such protests.
The Minister also urged local Zambian truck drivers who may be habouring such motives to desist from becoming part to the intended work protests.
He encouraged them to instead submit their grievances with the local authorities through their associations.
On Friday, Commerce Trade and Industry Minister, Chipoka Mulenga, said government was aware that truck drivers from the Southern African and Development Community (SADC) were planning for a protest on the 15th of August on the Zambian side.
Mulenga, therefore, warned the truckers that the law enforcement agencies would deal with them accordingly.
“The truckers from other countries wants to protest in Zambia because they cannot access the Democratic Republic of Congo were breaking the law and enforcement agencies should move in.
“The problem was not with the Zambian government but in the past the DRC customs officers had gone on strike for four months for not being paid and it took the head of state to intervene in the matter. I just want to tell the drivers not to do it in our country because they are going to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
The minister urged the SADC drivers to protest in their respective countries and not in Zambia because the country was not the one with the problem.
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