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Christian Leaders in Zambia Call for Thorough Assessment of Billboard Mounting

Logo of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ). Credit: Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ)

Christian leaders in Zambia have called on officials of the country’s Ministry of Local Government to rigorously evaluate the mounting of billboards in view of preventing accidents. 

On November 3, two people were injured after a billboard collapsed on the vehicles they were driving in the country’s capital, Lusaka. 

In a Tuesday, November 23 statement, the Christian leaders under the auspices of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) call upon officials of Zambia’s Ministry of Local Government “to thoroughly assess and only certify billboards that meet set health and safety standards.”

“We urge the relevant authorities to proactively monitor and check all billboards so that they can ascertain how safe they are to avoid preventable disasters, which if left unchecked could lead to fatal accidents," CCZ officials say.  

They further call on officials assigned the responsibility of certifying the mounting of the advertising boards to maintain "the highest standards of professionalism and patriotism" by avoiding to fall prey to corruption that results in shoddy works.

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"The damage caused by the falling of billboards may be overlooked but the victims feel the impact," the Christian leaders in Zambia caution.

 In the statement that was read out by CCZ General Secretary, Fr. Emmanuel Chikoya, the representatives of Christian leaders say the recent collapse of a billboard "serves as a timely warning to proactively begin to check how safe and secure the other billboards are." 

They further call upon Zambian authorities to pay particular attention to the positioning of billboards across the Southern African nation.

"A number of the billboards have been placed in very inconvenient and inappropriate locations, which cause obstruction to motorists thereby increasing the likelihood of road traffic accidents," they say. 

"Our considered view," the Christian leaders in Zambia say, "is that the billboard must not be erected and mounted anyhow." 

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In the November 23 statement, CCZ officials also advise victims of the billboard that collapsed during a downpour "to explore all legal avenues available to get compensation and hold all the owners as well as authorities accountable." 

On November 11, the Director of Engineering at the Lusaka City Council, Bright Banda, said preliminary investigations show that the collapsed billboard had been vandalized.

Mr. Banda said that during the investigations to ascertain the cause of the billboard's collapse, Lusaka City Council inspectors discovered that some nuts and bolts were removed from the billboard.

He also reported that the City Council had launched an inspection of billboards in Lusaka in view of bringing down those that are found to be unsafe.