Newly elected mayors of the cities of Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba have spoken against street vending, saying they will put that to a stop as a way of keeping their cities clean.
In an interview yesterday, Lilongwe City mayor Willie Chapondera said his council will engage the vendors to appreciate what city by-laws say.
Said Chapondera: “We will invite the leaders of the vendors so that they understand the need for a clean city.”
The mayor could not indicate the timetable for the exercise, but said a meeting has been scheduled for July 24 to agree on the way forward.
On his part, mayor for Mzuzu William Mkandawire said much as the councillors have not discussed street vending, it is his priority.
However, Mkandawire admitted that the main reason vendors are trading in the street is lack of space in the available markets.
He said: “We hope that after the flea market is completed next month, vendors will move out of the streets.”
But Mkandawire’s counterpart in Zomba, Joana Ntaja, said she does not see space as justification for street vending.
She said there is enough space in the existing market.
“We will call the vendors and reason with them on the need to go to the market. In our case, space is not a problem because there is a lot in the market.”
In Blantyre, street vending is also worse as there are vendors on verandas of many shops. Some vendors are also trading even in second-hand clothes outside the perimeter wall of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.
Blantyre City mayor Noel Chalamanda could not pick his phone when called yesterday, but the council’s chief executive officer Ted Nandolo said in an earlier interview that plans are underway to remove the vendors.
But Nandolo did not indicate when that would be done.
In 2007, former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration removed vendors from the streets of the country’s cities, a decision that earned him praise from the public.