Karonga District Council on Monday night demolished stalls constructed by traders in undesignated areas.
The development has, however, angered vendors who claim that the exercise was ill-timed.
Karonga district commissioner Paul Kalilombe warned vendors during the district launch of a clean-up campaign two weeks ago, to voluntarily relocate from undesignated spaces to the old market or face demolition.
But the vendors did not heed the message and continued with their businesses until Monday.
Speaking in an interview, Karonga Main Market chairperson Goodwin Ghambi said he was disappointed with the council’s handling of the situation.
He said they could have considered that most vendors are struggling financially due to effects of post-election demonstrations, fresh presidential polls and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They have taken us by surprise. They could have allocated us space and give us time to erect stalls before demolishing our old structures. Two weeks is not enough,” said Ghambi.
In another interview, a vendor Lighton Mangochi bemoaned lack of sanitation facilities at the allocated area as they wait for relocation to the old market. He expressed fear that the location could become a breeding ground for cholera.
On his part, Kalilombe said the vendors were given ample time to relocate.
“We know that the place is not conducive for business. But ideally, the plan is to keep them there for five days and then they should move to the old market which is designated for business and there are toilets and running water,” he said.