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Mzuzu vendors divided over planned demonstrations

Secondhand clothes (Kaunjika) vendors in Mzuzu have distanced themselves from demonstrations scheduled for Thursday by the Mzuzu Vendors Association.

The association alleged that last week some ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials in Mzuzu told vendors who ply their trade illegally in the city’s streets to freely conduct their business and that nobody should interfere with them.

The association demanded that the party officials withdraw the remarks or the vendors would organize a protest on Thursday.

The association argued that street vending was affecting business of those who ply their trade in designated markets because potential customers prefer to buy from vendors in the streets who do not pay market fees.

However, in a recent interview, accused DPP regional governor, Kenneth Sanga and Mzuzu City constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Leonard Njikho parried away the allegations saying they cannot apologise because they did not make such remarks.

In a press briefing at Katoto Secondary School on Monday, Kaunjika section vendors concurred with the DPP officials saying the allegations were untrue.

Kaunjika section’s chairperson, Bosco Bakhali said they will not participate in the demonstrations because they do not want any chaos in the city.

“We want peace in our city; that is why we are not in support of the decision to match in the streets.

Fights are likely to erupt because, already, the vendors inside the market and those outside do not see each other eye to eye.

“Besides, I don’t think our MP and Sanga can tell the vendors to sell their goods along the roads. They can’t allow street vending; they are respected people with sound minds and they love us,” he said.

The Kaunjika section vendors’ stand is supported by those who ply restaurant businesses at the Mzuzu Central Market.

Restaurant operators’ secretary, Ketas Mwenigamba said the decision to match in the streets was uncalled for.

However, chairperson for Mzuzu central market vendors, Alexander Sikwese who is co-organizing the match said the demonstrations are still on unless the officials withdraw their statements.

Vendors from the central market with 14 sections comprising over 6000 vendors had a press briefing last Thursday demanding for the two DPP officials to withdraw the alleged sentiments.

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