By CHUSA SICHONE and JAMES KUNDA –
THE Government has directed all liquor traders countrywide to keep their bars closed today until the end of the National Day of Prayer and Fasting activities at 18:00 hours.
Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale said that all the bars should remain shut instead of them being opened at 10:00 hours as prescribed in the Liquor Licensing Act No. 20 of 2011.
“Similarly, the Government wishes to appeal to the general public to celebrate this day by concentrating on prayers and fasting as opposed to patronising bars during the prayer and fasting time,” Mr Mwale said.
Mr Mwale said in a statement that the intervention was intended to enable the general public commemorate October 18, 2017 in a solemn and sober manner as intended.
The National Day of Prayer and Fasting activities will start in the morning and end at 18:00 hours.
President Edgar Lungu declared October 18 as a National Day of Prayer and Fasting in 2015 and subsequently made it a public a holiday.
In another development, traders of ready-to-eat foodstuff on the streets of Lusaka have defied a city council order to stop the practice as a measure of curbing the spread of cholera.
However, Lusaka City Council (LCC) acting public relations manager George Sichimba said yesterday that despite the ban on the sale of the foodstuff being with immediate effect, the council would take time to sensitise the traders on the ills of their practice.
Mr Sichimba said the council had an option of meting out stiff punishment on perpetrators of the vice as the ban was in force until health authorities declared the city cholera-free.
He advised consumers to be cautious of the sources of food.
A check by the Times along Freedom Way and surrounding areas yesterday revealed that vendors were still trading in foodstuff such as nshima, roasted sausages and beef, egg rolls and chips, among others.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has urged people to observe the highest standards of hygiene to prevent the spread of cholera.
ZACA executive director Samuel Simutunda said in an interview that people should remember to wash their hands with soap at times such as before eating and after using the toilet.
Mr Simutunda said citizens should maintain clean surroundings and ensure that the food consumed was purchased from designated points.