The Mzuzu City Council in Malawi’s northern region has withdrawn its earlier plans to relocate matabwa market vendors by force using Malawi army soldiers.
Last month Malawi24 published an article that hinted on the city council’s plans to hire soldiers from Moyale barracks to battle with vendors at the matabwa market with the primary aim of forcefully relocating them to a market the vendors have named Ndata.
The council maintained that they wanted the vendors out because the place belongs to the department of civil aviation while the vendors emphasized that having traded at the place forever 12 years it was imprudent for the council to chase them that time.
Malawi24 understands that the council is now considering relocating the vendors to markets in major townships like Lubinga, Sonda and Katawa.
Deputy Mayor for the city Frazer Chunga told Malawi24 that it is necessary for the vendors to comply with the new city plans to relocate them to major markets in townships.
“Some must go to Katawa, others to Lubinga and the remaining ones must go to Sonda market because that place is not ours. It belongs to the department of civil aviation,” said Chunga.
However, vendors have maintained that they do not see any possibility of them relocating to anywhere saying the matabwa market is very conducive for business.
Market chairman Saluti Phiri said the council is just wasting its time. He asked council officials to consider negotiating with the civil aviation department because the vendors have stood their ground and won’t relocate.
“It’s not in our plans, why relocating us? We are Malawians and we wonder why they are targeting us. Why can’t they leave us alone and do our business? We have been here and our customers know us here,” said Phiri.