Mzuzu vendors ask city council to insure market

Vendors in Mzuzu have asked Mzuzu City Council to insure the city’s main market, to enable vendors have relief whenever a mishap occurs, but the council says it only insures structures that belong to it.

President of vendors in the Northern Region, Stanley Simbeye, made the request in an interview with Nyasa Times following a last month incident, when fire gutted part of the Mzuzu main market.

The fire, whose actual cause is yet to be established, destroyed merchandise worth over 300 million Kwacha, ranging from second hand clothes to different electronic devices such as computers and video screens.

Mzuzu vendors rebuilding their structures
Mzuzu vendors rebuilding their structures

“The duty for insurance is in the hands of the city council, not an individual vendor. We pay city rates and market fees, so I guess they should have also made sure that the market is ensured because it is their place,” said Simbeye.

In his response, Mzuzu city council Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Chirwa, agreed with Simbeye on the need for insurance.

“The insurance was there, but got expired in 2012. Had it been the insurance we made for the market still existed, I don’t think the loss [to the city council] would have been worse as it is at the moment,” explained the City boss.

He also clarified that the city council can only insure structures belonging to it and not every vendor’s property because no vendor has got a specific place to sell his/her goods.

It is in this vein that he requested all the vendors plying their trade in the said market to insure their goods so that they have something to lean on when there is an accident.

Meanwhile, Chirwa has promised to separate restaurant operators from other businesses following reports that the fire started because one of the restaurant operators left a naked flame, adding that the incident will not affect the ongoing construction of Mzuzu flea market.

In April this year, a similar fire accident occured on the  other part of the same market, where goods worthy millions of kwacha were also destroyed.

Reports indicated that the fire started from one small restaurant where someone left beans boilling on a charcoal burner.

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