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Government neglects Area 18 market

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Over a year after Area 18 Market in Lilongwe was destroyed by fire, the government is yet to start renovating the main structure (a shade) of the market and some kiosks which were razed by the inferno.

The market was gutted in September 2015 and soon the incident, the government had given strong indications to start rebuilding the market immediately.

However, although some traders have built some kiosks using their own funds, parts of the market which required the involvement of government through Lilongwe City Council remain in ruins.

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One of the leaders in the market, Kayembe Kamtema, said they have held several meetings with the council over the issue but there is little progress to show for it.

“Since the incident, the only thing the [Lilongwe] city council officials did was to come and recover the iron sheets which were damaged by fire. We have been pushing for the reconstruction of the shade. We have had several meetings with council but nothing is happening,” Kamtema said.

He added: “To us, this shade is what the market is. We used to sell different things under it. At the moment, we are using places which are not appropriate. But we are hopeful that it will be maintained before the rains start.”

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In the aftermath of the incident, it was estimated that property worth about K100 million was destroyed.

In an interview, the council’s spokesperson, Tamara Chafunya, said they would like to construct a market, with better facilities other than just a simple shade.

“The council intends to incorporate the construction process in this financial year under the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF),” Chafunya said.

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