Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has resolved to drive out people, mostly Malawians of Asian descent, living in commercial buildings within the city’s central business district (CBD).
Most traders of Asian origin live on upper floors or back rooms of their business premises in all of the country’s cities.
MCC councillors, during their full council meeting, observed that commercial area dwellers litter anyhow, which affects the council’s efforts to improve sanitation. There are also cases of sewarage spillage in the business area as drainage systems around such buildings are not properly maintained.
Ambience of the city is another factor that is compromised as the residents dry their clothes, including underwear on veranda, observed the councillors.
Speaking during a full council meeting on Wednesday, Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire said business area dwellers should find accommodation in designated residential areas. He said their presence in town is compromising sanitation as they litter carelessly.
However, he said there is need to check how the residents found themselves lodging in town. He said officials could have approved plans for buildings that accommodate lodging places and if there were such approvals the council has to quash them.
Mkandawire said letting all people reside in residential areas would bring business to people whose houses are vacant and the buildings in town would also be utilized by people who want to run businesses.
The mayor said some of the Asians would also resort to building their own houses which would help develop residential areas and the city would generate more revenue through city rates.
Councillor Lusubilo Mwangonde, whose ward covers Mzuzu CBD, said the Asian community members should be allocated plots in residential areas so that they develop those areas. He said the central business area should be strictly for trade.
Mzuzu deputy mayor Frazer Chunga wondered why the Asians find it hard to live in residential areas like others. He said it is high time the council addressed the presence of Asians in the business area.
However, Lilongwe City Council acting chief executive officer Vito Mulura said Mzuzu could be having unique problems on sanitation relating to the dwellers and planning.
He said Lilongwe cannot attribute sanitation challenges to the presence of Asians living in business areas.
But Mulura refused to comment on whether Lilongwe City Council appreciates the need to have people living in residential area.
On his part, Blantyre City Council spokesperson Anthony Kasunda said the council has no issues with commercial business area dwellers on matters of sanitation. He said the council advises the dwellers to keep their surroundings clean.
He said the council also ordered that there should be no open verandas for new structures to curb the tendency of drying or displaying clothes and other domestic materials.
Northern Region Police spokesperson Maurice Chapola said police have had no problems with people residing in the business area.