Truck driver killings retrogressive
Published On February 2, 2014 » 2875 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Opinion
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THE decision by the Democratic Republic of Congo authorities to send the country’s Interior Minister today to try and find a lasting solution to the recent wanton killings at Kasumbalesa Border Post in Chililabombwe is a step in the right direction.

This gesture just shows how concerned the Congolese government is about these reported brutal killings of Zambian truck drivers.

The latest incident involves a truck driver who was shot dead by a dissident soldier last week after the Zambian refused to bow to the $10 (K55) demand.

This unfortunate incident comes barely a few months after another Zambian truck driver was allegedly brutally killed in Congo by an instant justice mob.

For last Wednesday’s case, the Congolese government has even gone a step further by taking care of all funeral expenses for the slain Zambian driver.

Apart from financing the funeral, the Congolese authorities, through their Interior minister, also apologised to the bereaved family and Zambia in general over the death.

The Congolese minister, who will lead a high-powered delegation that includes Zambia’s Consul General in Lubumbashi, will address the drivers at the border today.

Congo’s Consul General in Ndola and Chililabombwe District Commissioner, Stuart Chitumbo will also attend the meeting which hopes to end the tension at Kasumbalesa and assure the drivers of their safety.

We feel for the drivers who have work to do in the DRC and yet they have safety concerns creating a hurdle for them.

Anyone in a similar situation would feel the same way, and we, therefore, urge participants in today’s meeting to exercise patience for the greater good of the long-standing cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours.

We are aware that since last week’s incident, truck drivers on the Zambian side have boycotted crossing into Congo until they are assurance of their safety.

It is our hope that the investigations launched by the DRC authorities will yield positive results.

The action taken on the fugitive soldier should hopefully serve as a lesson for would-be law breakers on both sides of the border.

Despite the tension at the border, the drivers on the Zambian side have exercised restraint by remaining peaceful and not attempted to seek revenge.

That is the way it should be.

We agree with Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, George Zulu who has commended the drivers for exhibiting good behaviour and urged them to maintain the same spirit.

On his part, Mr Zulu assured the drivers of Government’s commitment to ensure their safety as they crossed into neighbouring countries.

It is, therefore, our hope that with interventions from both governments, such barbaric acts will come to an end through enhancement of security measures.

After all, life is a precious gift which should not be wasted indiscriminately. OPINION

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