Ndirande Market vendors in Blantyre have threatened to take an unspecified action on the police after the law enforcers last week confiscated suspected stolen merchandise.
The vendors claim the police’s action was unprocedural and harmful to their businesses.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, the vendors’ chairperson Chance Widoni said the law enforcers impound goods without search warrants.
“The police usually come into the market and break our stores, claiming they want to take goods we illegally purchased, but the officers still impound our items even if we show receipts.
“Why do they always target our market when there are a lot of markets in Blantyre? They do not even show us search warrants or demand to see our receipts when we tell them we have purchased the goods legally,” said Widoni.
But Southern Region Police deputy public relations officer Beatrice Bwanali dismissed the vendors’ arguments, saying the operations are aimed at curbing crime in the country and that the exercises are not restricted to Ndirande Market alone.
Bwanali said the police do not need search warrants to search public places because it is their duty to protect people’s property.
She also said some property can be returned to the owners if it is screened and found to be legal.
“Vendors have been warned time without number of the consequences of possessing illegally bought goods, but they do not want to listen since such items are cheaper to obtain.
“This was not the first time the police searched a market or public place, but the vendors are just overreacting because most of the goods that were confiscated may have been illegally owned. As police, we are there to provide security,” said Bwanali.