Before this exercise citizens have lived with the illusion that nothing can be done to clean up the city and given it the garden city touch. It had become customary for citizens to throw litter about, with cholera almost becoming an annually acceptable occurrence.
Just 48 hours of the defence forces taking over the streets, Lusaka has apart from the poor drainage system, looked almost as clean a city as any well-meaning citizen would love to see. The streets have been ridded of the irksome presence of vendors that have previously resisted being confined to the markets. The little effort by the council to sweep the streets has shown bits of its beauty with a wash of fresh air.
Government has shown its seriousness by sending cabinet ministers on the streets to re-enforce its message and intentions to the public directly. Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda and ministers Vincent Mwale and Dr Chitalu Chilufya went about the garbage infested areas to explain the market shutdown to the public.
While it is everyone’s hope that the clean remains as it is, there are some niggling areas that may require attention before the honeymoon graduates to a state of permanency.
What happens to the hundreds of displaced vendors from the streets? What about penalties for a public so easily given throwing litter anyhow? Once the military personnel returns to the barracks who is going to forcefully enforce the measures put up by the soldiers? Maybe the citizenry should just enjoy the spectacle while it lasts.