SUSPECTED United Party for National Development (UPND) members are buying mealie-meal in bulk in Lusaka to ostensibly cause a shortage.
Some residents of Lusaka’s Chawama Township have told the Sunday Mail that on Thursday the mealie meal was being bought from various outlets and loaded in trucks and driven away.
Some concerned residents are said to have reported the suspicious bulk-buying of the mealie-meal to Chawama Police while others got into a verbal confrontation with the buyers, whom they accused of causing an artificial shortage.
“There was a woman who belongs to the UPND. She came to one of the shops and told the owner that she wanted to buy all the mealie-meal. She was challenged about where she was taking the mealie-meal but she said what was wrong with buying everything.
“These people just want to cause a shortage and make Government unpopular, so the matter was reported to Chawama Police. Two trucks were impounded,” she said.
Another resident said there were similar bulk purchases of mealie-meal in neighbouring townships of Misisi and Kuku.
“As we speak, there is no mealie-meal in Misisi and Kuku,” she said.
When contacted for a comment, Police spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda said the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) was handling the case and that the police were not involved in the operation.
But DEC public relations officer Theresa Katongo said the commission is not aware of any operation that was carried out in Chawama or any arrests made to that effect.
Ms Katongo said the commission’s team from the inspectorate department was in fact nowhere in or near Chawama or the surrounding areas.
“That should be the issue of the police. We do not even detain people; if we do detain, suspects are handed over to the police. Anyway, I will continue asking my colleagues to find out what is really going on,” she said.
However, sources confirmed that there was a truck laden with mealie-meal bags parked at Chawama Police Station after the operation.
The source could not confirm whether or not people were arrested.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said his members should not be implicated in the shortage of mealie-meal in Chawama township.
“None of our members is buying mealie-meal in bulk to create an artificial shortage of the commodity. The people buying in bulk are just Zambian citizens with plans of reselling at a higher price.
“There is a shortage of mealie-meal in Chawama and that is the bigger picture which should be tackled by Government,” he said