Street and market vendors clash in Lilongwe

There has been a running battle as Flea Market vendors took the law into themselves to chase their fellows who ply their trade in the streets on the streets of the Malawi capital Lilongwe.

As business started in the morning, a large crowd of market vendors carrying sticks and different objects fought running battles with street vendors along the Kamuzu Procession road, the Malangalanga road and at Bwaila District Hospital where goods were destroyed.

It took a few hours for the street vendors to mobilise themselves and fought back, throwing the city into turmoil.

The anti-riot gear police watched the drama as it unfolded from a busy part of the capital where Asian shops and several markets are located.

Vendors skirmishes in Lilongwe
Vendors skirmishes in Lilongwe

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Lilongwe Vendors Association Chair Yelayela Soko said the flea market vendors were angry with the delay by the city council officials and the police to remove street traders.

“I tried to reason with them that this issue needs understanding and oneness, so we will see what will
happen,” he said.

He however agreed that the market is too small to accommodate all the vendors.

“But we can share whatever we have,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lilongwe police publicist Kingsley Dandaula said he was still analysing the issue and will comment “soon after investigations are over.”

He said: “We are patrolling the streets, we are in control of the situation.”

Malawian street sellers have to trade from designated markets, but many have invaded the streets. Street vending is blamed for the untidy look of most streets and an increase in pick-pocketing.

Thousands of vendors hawk anything from secondhand clothes to pornography on the impoverished southern African country’s streets in a thriving informal sector.

Malawi cities have always grappled with the menace of street vending since the dawn of multiparty politics in 1994.

Only about half a million of the 13 million citizens have formal jobs.

Vendors clash
Vendors clash

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