Vendors and people living around Area 22B market in Lilongwe chased away city officials and police who came to allocate plots at Area 22B market because the vendors claimed they were not informed of the activity and suspected foul play by the city officials.
The city officials who wanted to allocate the market to vendors of the area and those from St Johns (Area 36) were stoned by Area 22 vendors forcing the officials and police to flee the area.
Chiefs and vendors of Area 22B claimed that the market is a community market and belongs to them such that they could not share with strangers (St Johns Area 36 vendors) as city officials had arranged.
Group village headman Kwenda told LINA that Lilongwe City Council has no right over the ownership of the market and they were not happy with the Assembly’s directive of reallocating St Johns vendors to Area 22 market.
Kwenda said the villagers applied for the market from government 20 years ago and it is a community market and that all the powers to do with the market are in the hands of the villagers surrounding the market.
“We are not happy with Assembly’s directive to re-allocating St Johns vendors in this market because the officials don’t have mandate over this land. This market was given to us 20 years ago as a community market,” explained Kwenda
He added: “Despite the place being very small to accommodate vendors from St Johns as well, about 500 families depend on this market.”
Kwenda alleged that the villagers sent back authorities from the city council because they don’t want to accept the reality that the market belongs to the villagers.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the vendor from St Johns, disclosed that they have been conducting meetings with the city authorities to allocate them another place for their market and not Area 22 market.
He said during their meeting last week at civic offices, they again applied for a bigger place at Chakhoma, in area 36 where there is enough space and conducive for business saying area 22 is far from St Johns in area 36 and not good for business.
He revealed that city officials turned down their request.
Meanwhile Lilongwe Council has postponed the allocation of Area 22B market possibly to solve the wrangle amicably.
In January this year, Lilongwe City Council demolished shops of vendors at area 22B market claiming they were illegally obtained, a development which angered the chiefs and vendors in the area.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :