Business in Lusaka has been grounded following the declaration of today as a public holiday to allow Zambian citizens cast their votes in a presidential election caused by the death of President Michael Sata.
A check by ZANIS News crew in Lusaka at midday found almost all the shops from big shopping malls closed while traffic was flowing sparsely with very few people walking on the streets.
At East Mall Park and Arcades Shopping Mall along great east road in Lusaka, all the shops were closed but a few people were seen around the shopping areas relaxing.
At Manda Hill shopping mall, one shop was found open but it later closed after the honour was asked whether he was aware of the government’s directives that workers should be allowed to go and vote.
Some workers, who sought anonymity, complained that they had been forced to work because their boss, who is of foreign origin, refused to grant them one day off.
The manager of the named shop was reported to have travelled to the Copperbelt province but after he was informed of the ZANIS News crew’s presence at the premises, he issued instructions through the phone for the shop to be closed immediately so that workers could go and vote.
The Levy Junction shopping mall was also closed except for one eating place only identified as King Pie where one of the workers told the news crew that at the time of voter registration, all the workers operating today were under age hence have no chance to participating in today’s election.
The worker, who could not disclose his identity, said all the other workers who are eligible to vote had been allowed a day off except those who have no voter’s cards.
Generally, the businesses in town have all been grounded. Voting is expected to close at 18:00 hour today except for polling stations that delayed to open.