Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday toured Area 13 Market in Lilongwe which had been destroyed by fire last Thursday.
The fire is said to have started around 11pm and it took the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) Fire Brigade some two hours to put out—but only after half the market was destroyed.
Chakwera said he was concerned with the fire in markets which keep on destroying merchandise leaving vendors in deep poverty.
He maintained his proposal that government adopt deliberate measures, including insurance, to help compensate the business community in case of disasters such as market fires, saying that can be “a long-lasting solution.”
Chakwera proposed, among other measures, that local councils should ensure that all registered vendors plying their trade in the country’s main towns and cities be on mandatory insurance policies.
The MCP president gave out a K500 000 cash donation to help alleviate the pain of the vendors over the loss.
“I know it’s not enough. No donation is, but I just felt I had to do something,” said Chakwera.
Receiving the donation, Area 13 market chair, Chukumbutso Ngwira commended Chakwera, saying he isa vendors friend indeed.
“We are happy with MCP president because he is the fist senior official to visit us here after we lost our goods,” said Ngwira.
Apart from the usual market merchandise displayed either openly or in stalls, the Area 13 Market was home to some 42 mostly make-shift restaurants dotted inside and outside. The restaurants were popular for providing ‘cheap’ meals to customers in the City Centre area.
Lilongwe Police Station publicist Kingsley Dandaula said police were still compiling details, including the cause of the fire and the damage caused.
LCC publicist Tamara Chafunya said preliminary findings by the city council officials indicate that half the market was destroyed.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :