Following the chaos that erupted in Mzuzu City Saturday morning, which led to the torching of one of the council’s offices, the Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has engaged Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers from Moyale Barracks in night patrols.
MCC spokesperson, Karen Msiska, said yesterday that this is in a bid to tighten security in the market and the city at large.
But the decision has met resistance from vendors, who spent Saturday night at the disputed Zigwagwa Market to protect their merchandise.
The vendors have accused MCC of waging a war on them and wondered why working for a living has become a crime in the city.
“We don’t see why they are deploying soldiers; we have been operating in peace until council officials resorted to provocative ways. It’s unfair and I don’t see vendors backing off because of MDF’s presence,” said Herbert Shaba, who owns a shop.
Msiska said, after the incident, residents of the city have been living in fear and that several activities have been affected, hence the need to reassure them of their security.
“We want to emphasise that the culprits are still at large and no one knows what they would be up to next, and we are not taking chances as a council. So, the MDF will be helping us at night, while police intensify their presence during the day in order to ensure that things run normally until the matter is sorted out amicably,” Msiska said.
Meanwhile, The Daily Times has it on authority that an emergency council meeting held in camera Saturday evening resolved to seal the Zigwagwa Market indefinitely until all the culprits have been brought to book.
But when reported to Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, the decision was shot down, arguing the council would be losing revenue.
He thus ordered that vendors should in the meantime be allowed to ply their trade while market committees and various stakeholders help in tracking down the suspects who torched the Planning Department offices and vandalised property at Mayor Councillor William Mkandawire’s house
When contacted yesterday; Nankhumwa said the suggestions in question came from the council itself and said: “I have so far asked the Director of Local Services, who will be meeting management of the council on Monday[today], to understand the issues, so it’s after that meeting that other alternatives would be arrived at.”
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