After several failed efforts to move illegal vendors out of streets, Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has stopped chasing them saying now it is the responsibility of Mzuzu Police.
But the police have denied the responsibility saying it is beyond their jurisdiction and can only take action if engaged by the city council.
MCC Chief Executive Officer, Mcloud Kadam’manja said in an interview that the council had done its part in stopping illegal vending and what remains is the duty of the police.
“We have done all we could to stop illegal vending in the city including putting up planks [barricades] and sign posts to keep away the illegal vendors.
“What is left now is the duty of the police to arrest those people that are still vending in the undesignated places,” he said.
However, in a separate interview, Mzuzu Police Deputy Public Relations Officer, Victor Khamisi said it is not police’s duty to move vendors out of the streets.
He, however, said the police could only be involved if the council engaged them in a sweeping exercise as has been the case previously.
“We can only arrest those who do vending along the roads because that is an offense but to ask vendors out of the streets is beyond our jurisdiction as police.
“However, they [MCC] can engage us during sweeping exercise to provide security to council officials and public at large because previous experience has shown that crashes between council officials and vendors sometimes turn violent,” he said.
Khamisa further said police cannot arrest illegal vendors without permission from the council.
Illegal vending has been one of the biggest challenges faced by MCC for years.
Despite involving police, the vendors return to the streets a few days after being chased.
A vendor who refused to be named said it is impossible to stop street vending because the available markets are congested.
“We are too many to fit into the new flea market. That is why some of us sell our items on the streets,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :