22 June 2007

Zambia: Mwanawasa to Launch Keep Zambia Clean Campaign

PRESIDENT Mwanawasa is today expected to launch the Keep Zambia Clean campaign in which K200 million has been injected.

The programme, to be launched on both national Radio and Television this evening, is expected to outline various activities on the importance of ensuring that the surroundings were kept clean.

Local Government and Housing Minister, Sylvia Masebo, told a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that she was happy that the Government had allocated K200 million in this year's Budget for the programme.

Various programmes had been lined up that would involve First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, Cabinet ministers and mayors to promote the campaign.

She said that after the launch, Mrs Mwanawasa would kick off the campaign at Soweto market in support of the initiative as minister of Communication and Transport leads mini-bus drivers in ensuring that buses and surroundings at bus stations were clean.

Minister of Health will lead the cleaning of wards at the University Teaching Hospital, while Education minister joins in the cleaning of an ablution block at a Lusaka's Chawama school.

Home Affairs minister will be part of the cleaning of prisons, as Commerce minister launches painting of shops in the city and other trading areas.

Ms Masebo said officers may be prompted to use force on owners of buildings who may resist painting their structures and Government would throw back the cost to the owners. She appealed to owners of buildings to begin painting without being forced.

Tourism and Environment minister takes to tree-planting in Chilenje and appealed to residents to make it a habit to plant trees as a way of conserving the environment.

As Lusaka mayor will be unblocking drainages at a selected school in Lusaka's Mandevu township, Inspector-General of Police would be enforcing the public nuisance Act and illegal car vending.

Chairman of the House of Chiefs will be in Southern Province where he would commission the water project and carry out sensitisation on the need for the community to keep their surroundings clean as Bank of Zambia (BOZ) governor addresses a news forum organised by the Post Newspapers on the role of banks in ensuring their surroundings were kept clean at all times and not to just profit-making.

Other provinces were also expected to conduct similar programmes related to cleanliness starting from June 23 to June 30.

The campaign would come up again in October just before the rainy season.

Ms Masebo said it was hoped that by the end of five years the issue of cleanliness and hygiene would have been achieved as people would ensure their surroundings, at places of work and homes were kept clean to avoid diseases.

She appealed to the church to assist to preach about cleanliness as the scripture says cleanliness was next to Godliness.

Ms Masebo revealed that next week, Government would be reviewing the current nuisance and street-vending regulations which were weak as most people were able to pay fines and continued committing the offences.

According to the law, honking, screaming, vending, urinating, littering and off-loading in the middle of the road, keeping animals in the backyard was a crime but the fines, which ranged from K500 to K1000, were too low.

Her ministry was considering increasing charges to K100,000, K200,000, K500,000 and K1 million, depending on the crime committed

She commended media organisations for their role since the campaign was announced and appealed to them to continue educating the public on the need to keep the surroundings clean.

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