Lilongwe City Council (LCC) on Monday night demolished traders’ stalls along Malangalanga Road. The stalls were reportedly erected in undesignated places.
The act affected scores of vendors selling clothes, cosmetics and household items along the city’s streets in the Central Business District.
“It is a normal routine as mandated to us by the by-laws that all those that are conducting vending are to do so in designated markets,” LCC spokesperson Tamara Chafunya said.
She added that there are designated places where the vendors can be operating from other than erecting structures in undesignated places, saying removing vendors from undesignated places is an ongoing and routine operation.
The activity, however, did not go down well with some of the vendors who claimed the council demolished the stalls on Monday night without prior warning.
They say this has rendered them destitute as they rely on their businesses to meet their everyday needs.
“We were shocked this morning to find our shops demolished; we went to the council offices to enquire about what had happened and they admitted that they had razed down the structures, saying they were in undesignated places,” one of the affected vendors said.
For years, city and town councils have been struggling to drive vendors out of undesignated places where they create chaos and queues.
Those who operate from designate places accuse their colleagues who line up the streets of robbing the of business opportunities as the ones on the streets easily get customers who do not find it convenient to trek to the main markets.
It is also reported that vendors who ply their trade in undesignated places do not pay market fees, resulting into councils losing revenue in hundreds of millions of kwacha annually
Mathews Kasanda is a Journalist who has recently joined Times Group Newsroom as an Intern. He is an outstanding media practitioner and in 2014, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.