People in Mzimba say they feel neglected by government for failing to open the much-awaited Ekwendeni and Enukweni markets and bus depots which have been lying idle for seven years now.
During a visit to the areas recently, it was discovered that the structures are not connected to water and electricity with poor or no access roads.
As a result, vendors and transporters operate their businesses in open spaces along the M1 Road, putting themselves at risk of accidents.
Mzimba district commissioner (DC) Thomas Chirwa said in an interview that the M’mbelwa District Council is waiting for the central government to compensate people displaced during construction of the access roads.
“As a council, we have already set aside K15 million for the construction of the roads. All we are waiting for is the central government giving us funding for the compensations estimated at K19 million,” he said.
Chirwa said they conducted assessments for the compensations which were submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in April last year.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho confirmed receipt of the report, but said it has been submitted to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) for action.
Mzimba North East member of Parliament (MP) Olipa Myaba Chiluba, who was speaking during an interface meeting organised by Phunzirani Development Organisation and Voice of Livingstonia, said failure to open the markets is a loss of revenue to government.
She said lack of an operational market at Ekwendeni has also seen a rise of uncollected wastes on roadsides, posing a health risk to traders.
Phunzirani programmes manager Kinnear Mlowoka said the issue shows lack of proper planning by government when initiating various development projects.