Zomba to punish buyers


Zomba City Council has passed a bylaw meant to penalize people who buy merchandise from illegal vendors, in a bit to deal away with the malpractice.

The bylaw is one of the bylaws which have been approved by the City Council in a bid to bring sanity and orderliness in all sectors of the council.

The bylaws were passed in a full council meeting that was held in the Council’s Chamber on Monday, and was chaired by Mayor, Christopher Jana.

Christopher Jana
Christopher Jana: Zomba-Mayor.

During the full council meeting which was attended by ZCC officials, interest groups as well as members of the media, Chairpersons for different service committees presented summaries of the bylaws before deliberations and eventual passing of the bylaws.

Presenting the bylaws on market and vending, Chairperson of the finance Committee, Jamesom Mlekere, said in consultation with different sectors of the city of Zomba, it was decided that buyers from illegal vendors should be penalized as they are the ones that encourage the malpractice.

“As a council, we lose a lot of revenue from illegal vending, because instead of being in designated markets and paying market fees, some people decide to sell in our streets. This is detrimental to development,” said Mlekere.

The finance committee Chairperson said penalizing the buyers is justified as they are accomplices to the malpractice and “in the long run it is them that complain that the council is not developing their areas when they are denying the council of revenue for the same.”

The development of the bylaws had seen the infusion of new bylaws and the amendment of already existing ones, covering all directorates of the council.

Among other, the bylaws will foster the introduction of oaths and affirmations at ZCC, the regulation of behaviours and practices regarding preservation and protection of natural environment like: littering, brick moulding and cutting trees.

Furthermore, they will ensure the regulation of school fund contribution by primary school learners, the regulation of Non-Governmental Organizations, control of amusement machines, nursery school bylaws and others.

Speaking before the approval of the bylaws, Jana said the bylaws were developed in a quest to make sure that there are laws that respond to the issues happening in Zomba, and that they help to give the council powers to act.

“As a council we decided to develop these bylaws to address local issues, and we believe by coming up with these bylaws, we are in the right direction of bringing sanity in our city”, he explained.

The bylaws, which have been developed in consultation with different stakeholders in the city of Zomba, have penalties (fines) for those that will not abide to its stipulations and in some cases prison sentences.

After the passing of the 184 paged document, the Mayor called on city council officials to ensure that sensitization is carried out for the residents of the city to be in the know of what is expected of them.

In his remarks, one of the members from interest groups, Rogers Kaunda of Bwalo initiative, commended the council for coming up with the bylaws as “they are likely to influence positive behaviour in the city.”

Kaunda acknowledged that there are some issues that have been addressed in the bylaws that are jeopardizing the progression of development in Zomba City and reiterated the need for the council to ensure the full implementation of the bylaws.

The approved bylaws will be sent to the ministry of justice where they will be verified if they are not in conflict with other laws of Malawi, after which they will have to be assented by the minister of local government before implementation.