Chairperson of vendors in Lilongwe City James Yelayela Soko says Members of Parliament (MPs) are not doing enough to bring development in their areas leading to congestion and poor hygiene in all the markets in the city.
However, the MPs have shifted the blame to the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) authorities for derailing their development plans.
Soko in an interview said since the MPs were elected, they have never visited the markets to appreciate the problems traders face.
He was speaking at LCC offices last week where Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Grace Maseko was expected to address a meeting of the MPs, vendors and city council officials.
The meeting, however, failed to take place after the minister sent her apologies through acting LCC chief executive officer Vitoo Mulula that she was attending a meeting at Kamuzu Palace.
â€œWe have been using our resources to renovate some markets, but the MPs are doing nothing. This makes us to be suspicious that the members of parliament in the city are not development conscious and want to derail government plans,â€ said Soko.
He said, among others, the flea market needs a high wall to deter thieves, the central market needs toilets and proper drainage systems while the area 23 and Kawale markets need new toilets and new sheds but there is nothing been done.
But MP for Lilongwe City South West Adam Wells Vinandi says it is not fair for the vendors to blame the Members of Parliament because it is the city council which frustrates them.
Parliamentarian for Lilongwe City South East Agness Penumulungu said she could not comment, arguing Vinandi will present grievances on behalf of all the MPâ€™s.
Â â€œWe send our proposals to the City Council but they just sit on them. There is money earmarked for stadiums and markets but the assembly is frustrating us. The assembly wants to control the constituency development fund as well as the Local Development Fund which is abnormal,â€ he said.
Mulula said the initiation of projects is in the hands of the members of parliament, but if there are disagreements then they may be on accountability.
â€œIt is the job of the members of parliament to initiate development but as a council we want accountability maybe that is where the problem is. We could not just be releasing funds if we know there will be problems with accountability,â€ he said.