Kitwe’s independent Nkana Member of Parliament Binwell Mpundu has warned that mealie meal shortages coupled with rampant smuggling of the staple food has the potential to bring civil strife in the country.
A critical shortage of mealie meal has hit some parts of the country in particular Copperbelt Province where people are lining up to buy the commodity in retail shops.
Mealie meal shortages in Chililabombwe, Mufulira, Kitwe, Chingola and Ndola have resulted in retailers selling the staple food at exorbitant prices as smuggling to DR Congo compounds the situation.
In his latest comment on mealie meal shortage, Mr. Mpundu said Zambians need to unite to find a solution to the food crisis.
He said the situation has reached a point where every citizen must get involved in fighting the rampant smuggling of mealie meal.
Mr. Mpundu emphasised that food security must be a top priority for any government arguing that unfortunately Zambians got carried away by playing cheap politics as the mealie meal situation was worsening.
“We need to unite to find a solution to the food crisis. It is no longer a secret that the mealie meal problem is a crisis if not an emergence already. Food security must be a top priority for any government. Unfortunately we got carried away playing cheap politics but look, the damage is already done and now is the time to remedy the situation. We have reached a point where every citizen must get involved in fighting the Rampant smuggling of mealie meal. Everyone who is involved in the smuggling of mealie meal must stop right now because this now will no longer be fight by law enforcement officers alone but a fight by all citizens,” Mr. Mpundu said.
The Nkana Constituency lawmaker announced that he is forming a private crack squad of young men who will start looking out for smugglers.
“I personally will constitute a private crack squad of young men who will start watching out for smugglers and all those officials who are reportedly involved will be fished out and we will deal with you ourselves because we know you will walk away from the police easily. Yes you have heard me, we will start dealing with smugglers ourselves because if not handled properly this situation can bring civil strife but before that happens let us all get to work to protect the peace of our country. Note that we are all getting involved now to help clean up a mess created because of pride and incompetence but next time we will mobilize people to force an incompetent official to resign on their own,” Mr. Mpundu said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mpundu said he will move a motion when Parliament resumes against the Minister of Agriculture Reuben Phiri and his Health counterpart Sylvia Masebo for allegedly misleading the house on the food and drug situation respectively.
“When parliament resumes it will move a motion of centre on the minister of agriculture and health for misleading the house and the country on the food and drug situation .If not checked the minister of agriculture can plunge this country into chaos for deliberately misleading parliament and the country over the food situation. Now that the Zambia biodiversity agency has expressed reservations over the importation of mealie meal for fear of importing GMO’s, what will Hon Mutolo do to arrest the food shortages.”
“Similarly I will move a motion of censure on Hon Masebo for misleading the house on the drug situation in the country. Every one recalls how she and the members on the right rubbished a parliamentary committee on health’ report that informed the house of the serious drug shortage situation in all health facilities. But reality on the ground is that there is a serious drug shortage in health facilities. This country needs seriousness and I will not sit and watch people mandated to serve people play games. Time has come for citizens to demand accountability on all of us they have mandated to provide leadership to rise to the occasion and do our jobs. We all know the consequences of the lapses in addressing the food and drug shortages because our lives depend highly on these two,” Mr. Mpundu said.