Mzuzu vendors want Malawi army soldiers to remove illegal traders: ‘Police has failed’

Mzuzu Vendors Association has asked Mzuzu City Council to involve Malawi Defence Force (MDF) in the removal of illegal street vendors saying the Malawi Police Service (MPS) has failed.

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The Mzuzu Vendors Association made the appeal during a stakeholders meeting aimed at finding lasting solution to illegal vending.

Speaking on behalf of the association’s president, Mzuzu Central Market vendors’ committee secretary, Franklin Hara, said the council should involve the MDF if it is really committed to end illegal vending.

“We have been working with police officers for many years but there is no change. Let us try the MDF,” he said.

Hara said many businesses of legitimate vendors are now dying due to illegal vending that has spread into the city’s streets.

“We pay market fee on daily basis, while the illegal vendors do not pay anything,” he said.

In reaction, Mzuzu Police Assistant Commissioner Armakio Daka said the removal of illegal vendors from the streets needs collaborated efforts from all stakeholders.

Daka said the problem has been failure by the city council to pay allowances to officers in uniform as per agreement.

“We agreed here that our 150 officers in uniform will be getting an allowance of K5, 800 each per day but the council only paid this for two days when our officers had worked for seven days,” Daka said.

He said illegal vendors are selling their merchandise everywhere in the city due to lack of coordination between the city council and the MPS.

“Police officers have not failed. Mzuzu is a small city; we cannot fail to remove illegal vendors but we need to take care of our officers. Let us be serious,” he said.

Commenting on the matter, Deputy Mayor for Mzuzu City, Councillor Alexander Mwakikunga, said the city council has put aside K5 million in this new financial year for the illegal vendors sweeping exercise.

Mwakikunga said from Monday next week, police will be deployed again to carry out the sweeping exercise for a week.

“It is not our wish to use the MDF officers but if the Malawi Police Service fails again, then why not involving the MDF?” he said.

In the past, Mzuzu City Council was using 150 police officers per day but due to financial constraints, the council is intending to use ten police officers only per day with an allowance of K5, 800 each which some quarters say it’s a mockery.

Mzuzu City Council constructed a free market some three years ago, but many vendors are not willing to relocate to the new market saying it is far from the main market and road.


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