By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
GOVERNMENT has decided to erect a barricade stretching from Chililabombwe to Solwezi to help regulate movement of people into and out of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and curb rampant smuggling activities.
Home Affairs Minister Davies Mwila said this when he visited Kasumbalesa border to check on the problem of smuggling.
Mr Mwila said Government was concerned with rampant smuggling, particularly of mealie-meal which is taking place at the border post.
Mr Mwila who attributed the rampant smuggling at Kasumbalesa to the porous state of the border said Cabinet had directed his ministry to take stern measures to stop smuggling.
He said the rampant smuggling at Kasumbalesa was a source of grave concern to Government as it wanted to ensure that there was enough stocks of maize for local consumption.
“With the problem of smuggling at Kasumbalesa, Cabinet has directed that as a ministry, we have to come up with measures to deal with this problem,” he said.
He said the barricade would help immigration and other border authorities regulate movement of people as they would be using one official border entry point.
“There is no doubt Kasumbalesa border is very porous and in terms of controlling people going in and out of the country, it is extremely difficult for border authorities even if you were to increase manpower it will still be a challenge, because people can cross from any point as we have seen,” he said.
Mr Mwila said the Joint Permanent Commission of Zambia and the DRC had agreed to increase hours of operation at various entry points, except for Kasumbalesa.
He said, extending border operation hours from the current 18:00 hours for closing to midnight, would put a strain on authorities at Kasumbalesa.
Mr Mwila who was accompanied by Copperbelt Police chief Charity Katanga later inspected the camp for the mobile unit, where he expressed displeasure with the waterlogged premises.
He took to task Chililabombwe District Police officer commanding, Chansa Kalenga for failing to take personal responsibility to improve the premises and make them more conducive for human habitation.