Concerned community members in Nsanje have expressed anger over the delay in starting the construction of a multi-million kwacha market, accusing vendors of thwarting government’s efforts to develop the district.
The concerned people have noted that government is failing to kick-start the K236 Million market and bus depot projects at the district headquarters due to the vendors’ unrealistic compensation demands before their structures are demolished.
They said the vendors are to blame for government’s failure to start the construction work as they are not justified to demand the compensation from government since they are plying their trade inside district council’s premises.
The community members wondered how government is implementing similar projects such as Tengani in the district without hurdles.
“The vendors’ claims are not realistic as they are plying their trade inside the council market. The construction work at Tengani is progressing well because people there own the projects.’’
“Vendors should not suffocate government’s development efforts for the district. They have to move out, so that Nsanje can have a new face,” said one of the concerned community members who did not want to be mentioned.
However, vendors have always stuck to their guns that they will not move out of the market to pave way for the construction of the new market and bus depot unless government bows down to their demands.
The vendors’ Vice Chairperson Misheck Sumana said they are justified to demand compensation from government as they had put up permanent structures that cannot be demolished without getting compensation as has been the tradition elsewhere.
“We are not to blame. Government is delaying the project. Had it been that government gave us the compensation, we could have already moved out of the market so that construction starts. Otherwise, we are ready to do so once we are given the compensation,” said Sumana.
Local Government’s spokesperson, Mulhabase Mughogho also blamed the vendors for government’s delay to kick-start the construction work claiming they do not want to own the project.
However, District Commissioner for Nsanje, Gift Lapozo said government was looking into the concerns of the vendors but he did not say how long it will take for the issue to be addressed.
According to the site manager for the project, Carlos Mulolo, government awarded the two projects to Wisdom Construction Company whose work was supposed to commence on July 15, 2016.