Burning ceremony in offing

The rainy season is abating and civic leaders in our cities and towns are buying matches in readiness for the annual burning ceremony.

Grass which has grown tall in open spaces in our townships will now be cleared by the strike of a match stick against the slender side of its box.

Along with the grass are maize plants grown in townships by the residents, which despite threats by local authorities, have surprisingly not been cut.

Maize planted by the residents in compounds have remained unslashed despite threats to do so because they are favourable sanctuaries for mosquitoes to breed in, will also burned.

You cannot blame councils for resorting to burning grass instead of slashing. The bearded tough guy operating from the Government Complex annex in Kamwala, has said it in no uncertain terms.

“No more casualization of employment here in Zambia. Any employer disobeying this order will feel the full weight of my wrath,” he has warned not once or twice but many times over and over again.

Obediently, councils may not have engaged casual workers to slash grass for fear of upsetting the toughie.

Instead, they have to wait patiently for the tall green grass to dry up and turn brown before torching it, period.

Sadly, this will be the last burning ceremony our city, town and district fathers and mothers would be holding this year because they will be declared redundant next month with or without full benefits.

But who cares most of them have sold enough plots of land including play grounds for children who now amuse themselves with their favourite trotting game of eagles on streets and end up being bashed by careless motorists in some cases.

By the way, the position of the mayor has been elevated. This means that on August 11, we – the people – shall elect mayors directly under the amended constitution instead of councilors doing it for us. Ohoo yes, this has also increased the number of sources of political freebies.

Apart form presidential, parliamentary and councillorship candidates giving us chitenge, t-shirts, chibuku beer and of course some cash, those vying to be installed as mayors shall also provide freebies during the campaign period.

Some of you who were stunned when Mulenga Sata announced his intention to go for the post of mayor of the greater city of Lusaka, should know that this amiable politician is smart and knows what he is doing.

For, while a law maker would be elected by voters in a constituency, voters across constituencies based in a city, town or newly created districts would choose the mayor. In Lusaka for instance, the mayor would be elected by voters from Matero, Munali, Lusaka Central and Kabwata constituencies while MPs would draw voters from their small constituencies.

Inevitably, this means that mayors would be superintending over members of parliament in  their respective districts.

“Can I have reports from honourable members of parliament about happenings in   constituencies?” the new mayor would be saying while chairing the District Development Coordinating Committee meetings in addition to leading proceedings of full council meetings.

Truant MPs would answer to the mayor and the possible punishment could include vetting come next general elections as the phone line to the power that be would remain open 24 hours. So, you would-be parliamentarians are fore warned against insubordination.

The new mayor will not be the one you knew who reported for work at 07:30 hours and knocked off at 20:00 hours like a full time employee and spotting the chain of authority even when there are no ceremonial ribbons to cut in town.

We expect the new mayors to ensure that grass in our cities and towns is trimmed f facilitate the trimming of grass too and keep our towns clean among other duties.

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