The High Court in Mzuzu has ordered vendors trading at Mzuzu airport’s plane breather, commonly known as Vigwagwa or Matabwa market, to vacate the area within seven days.
Mzuzu City Council erected temporal structures at the breather to pave way for the construction of a flea market. However, the flea market which was supposed to be constructed within a year, took over seven years to complete, a development that saw a boom in structures at the air breather.
The vendors went ahead to get an injunction after the council issued an ultimatum to have them relocate by August 30.
They (vendors) have since resorted to building permanent structures at the breather after fire gutted the market this month. However, the council, through lawyer Victor Gondwe contested the injunction and the court has since dismissed the injunction and ordered vendors to move out within 7 days.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, lawyer for the council, Victor Gondwe, said there are very few registered vendors at the air breather market. He said the rest invaded the area and do not pay market fees.
He said: “The issue of the vendors’ population being greater than the flea market can accommodate should not be a problem as there are only a few registered vendors and the court has ordered that they should be allocated places within 14 days.”
Mzuzu city mayor William Mkandawire said the council recognizes only 500 registered vendors at the temporal market who he said can fit in the flea market.
He said “There was no need for the council to be forced to develop the temporal market when there is a flea market that is being shunned.”
Mkandawire said all those trading at the breather will have to move, adding people who do businesses that cannot be accommodated in the flea market will be assigned to other areas should they get registered.