Malawian vendors in Ekwendeni have branded a newly constructed free market as ‘Ndata’ saying the place is not conducive for business.
“This place is so desolate and far from our customers thus we have named it ” Ndata, ” said Ackim Jere, a tomato trader.
Malawi24 established that these vendors have dumped the market and are not interested to use it despite several calls from the district council. Instead, they have just agreed to be plying their trade along the M1 road, a decision the council has described as risky.
“Business minded people realize the importance of the location where they must ply their trade. In this main road, business is fair and we can’t stop trading here,” said Anthony Beza, another trader.
Nevertheless, the market chairman, Griffin Soko blamed the district council for choosing a poor location to build the market. He wished if council officials would have consulted widely before proceeding with plans for the project. “Look, even the Electricity Supply Cooperation of Malawi (ESCOM) is failing to connect power to the market. This is another reason vendors hate the market,” he said.
On his part, district commissioner for Mzimba, Thomas Chirwa, expressed worry at the tendency of vending in the main road, saying it remains risky to vendors. He then urged them to go back to the market and wait for the electricity connection which his office is negotiating with ESCOM.
“That’s worrisome and stressing because in course of them trading near or even inside the road as they do, anything terrible can happen. I urge them to start using the market we built for them, as they wait for electricity, ” said Chirwa.
Ekwendeni market was once consumed by fire before the district council built a new market some metres away from the main road.
Vendors from here are not alone in shunning markets as their colleagues in Mzuzu are also shunning their new market on grounds of poor business location.