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Mzuzu vendors defy ministerial order

Mzuzu vendors have defied Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tarcizio Gowelo’s order to occupy the newly built Mzuzu Flea Market.

Press Trust constructed the flea market and handed it over to government in April this year.

During the handover ceremony, Gowelo pleaded with the vendors to occupy the market to show gratitude to Press Trust which spent at least K67 million on the construction of the modern facility.

“Your friends are in dire need of such facilities. The only way to say thank you (to Press Trust) is to occupy the market. It will be disheartening to go to President Peter Mutharika and tell him that I have received this donation when it is empty,” said Gowelo.

Mzuzu Deputy Mayor, Frazer Chunga, warned the vendors that it would formulate stiff bylaws to force them into the market.

“We will enforce the laws for them to occupy the market whether they like it or not. We were just waiting for its opening. The K1 800 penalty we impose on street vending is too low. We want to review it and put it at K5 000 plus a three day custodial sentence,” said Chunga during the market presentation ceremony.

However, two months down the line, the bylaws are nowhere to be seen and the vendors are still on the streets.

In an interview this week, president of Mzuzu City Vendors, Stanley Simbeye, blamed the council for the mess. He accused the council of lip service on the formulation of bylaws that would force the vendors to occupy the market.

Simbeye said some vendors refuse to occupy the market because they do not want to pay the daily K80 market fee which means the council was losing revenue.

However, in an interview this week, Chunga repeated the April promise that the councillors will formulate stiff bylaws.

“Mzuzu City Council is expected to meet soon and strategise on what the financial committee would agree. I hope we shall implement the laws,” he said.

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