Lilongwe City residents hail council, vendors pact

Citizens of Lilongwe City have hailed the truce by Lilongwe City Council and the small scale businessmen often termed as vendors saying the pact should never derail again.

On Tuesday morning the Lilongwe vendors led by their Chairman James Soko conducted a clean-up campaign sweeping off the remnants of garbage left by some street vendors who peacefully left the streets on Friday last week.

In the past it has been running battles between the two parties with Police mostly stirring the trouble by use of excessive force.

This has not only left several people injured but also led to business losses of shop owners through prolonged closures of their shops in fear of looting.

The Lilongwe City Council officials joined the cleaning campaign while residents could not just stand aside and watch but also picking up brooms to help in cleaning the Malawi`s Capital City main streets.

Aerial view of part of Lilongwe's city centre

“The Lilongwe City Council, the Vendors and the Police must be commended for the good gesture in this exercise. We have liked the peaceful way this whole exercise has been conducted and we are hoping for more, “said Carol Mafunga a Lilongwe resident.

The clean up exercise was conducted from the Lilongwe Community Centre ground to the Old Town Hall passing through the capital city`s small business Mecca dubbed as the Tsoka Market.

Goo ties

This initiative was the brainchild of the vendors after realizing that they too have a responsibility to keep the surroundings they discharge their businesses in clean environment.

Chairman of the Lilongwe Vendors Association, James Soko,  committed that the vendors would like to help law enforcers such as the Police and Council to reduce crime, filth and uphold the Bye-Laws by conducting businesses in designated areas.

“ We will adhere to the City Bye-Laws and we will help to keep the city safe and clean. We are committed to make this exercise a routine,” said Soko.

On its part, Lilongwe City Council has applauded the vendors’ gesture and hailed the new leadership of the vendors for allowing peace and calm prevail during the removal of vendors from the streets.

LCC Public Relations Officer Tamara Chafunya said the council will continue the process of contact and dialogue with the vendors throughout to avoid breakdown in the truce.

“The council has intensified process of upgrading needful resources in various markets and provides what is necessary to make both vendors and their customers comfortable to conduct trade in specific markets. The Council through government and the Ministry of Local Government will give full support and make sure there are good ties with the vendors,“ she said.

Heaven for business

Lilongwe City is one of the fastest-growing cities  in the Southern Africa with more than 200,000 people migrating from surrounding districts and other cities every year since 2009 to work and conduct business in this city.

This development has weighed down the efforts by the Council to provide facilities available in many fronts such as sanitation, health, housing and security.

Investors have recently also found the Lilongwe City a haven for businesses due to high rate of activities in farming and general business as well as infrastructural development.

Malawi`s leading mobile operator Airtel Malawi, one of International Commercial Banks Standard Bank just to mention a few, all relocated their headquarters to the city.

New projects such as the Five Star Hotel and International Conference Centre, the newly launched sports Stadium and the free-way project bypassing the city have beckoned new job seekers and opportunities for business hence the influx of more small scale businesses.

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