The Zambian government has issued a warning to international truck drivers against using the country as a base for planned protests, set to take place on August 15th, 2023, along the route into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The announcement, made by the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Hon. Museba Frank Tayali, MP, comes amidst concerns over potential disruptions to traffic flow and congestion caused by these protests.
The anticipated work protest is aimed at truck drivers traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are reportedly planning to boycott entry into the country as a protest against what they claim is unfair treatment of drivers within the DRC.
While acknowledging the drivers’ right to protest when aggrieved, Minister Tayali emphasized the Zambian government’s apprehension regarding the potential disturbances caused by protests at the Kasumbalesa border crossing, a key transit point between Zambia and the DRC. He highlighted the government’s ongoing efforts to resolve the underlying issues amicably through dialogues with all stakeholders involved.
Minister Tayali firmly requested that, in the event truck drivers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations feel compelled to protest, they should do so within their own respective countries rather than using Zambia as a staging ground. The Minister stressed that the government does not anticipate witnessing any disruptions on Zambian roads due to this matter.
He urged truck driver representatives under the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), SADC, and EAC (East African Community) to strongly advise their members against using Zambia as a platform to stage protests. The Minister’s advisory extends to local Zambian truck drivers who might be considering similar actions, urging them to avoid participating in the planned work protests and instead directing them to communicate their grievances through their respective associations and local authorities.
The Minister’s statement reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring smooth cross-border transportation and trade activities while encouraging peaceful resolutions to any disputes. As the proposed protest date approaches, the situation remains under close observation, with stakeholders hoping for a resolution that minimizes disruptions while addressing the concerns of the truck drivers involved.