Mzuzu Councillors fail on vendors, illegal pubs

Mzuzu City Council

The Mzuzu Civil Society Network (MCISON), an umbrella body of the majority of non-profit organizations in Mzuzu, says ward councillors in the city have failed to bring policies to address the challenges of illegal street vending and the mushrooming of illegal pubs.

Peter Mumba, Governance Coordinator at MCISON said this in a telephone interview in Mzuzu on Wednesday.

Mzuzu City Council
Mzuzu City Council

Mumba also faulted the councillors for failing to control the mushrooming of illegal pubs in locations, a situation which is said to be posing a risk to the well-being of girls of school-going age in the City.

Mumba He blamed the failure on the weakness of the councillors to exercise authority over the Executive of Mzuzu City Council. MCISON has however, applauded the councillors on infrastructure developments and rehabilitation of the existing road networks.

“What we were expecting is that we will see the councillors coming up with policies, by-laws, to regulate pubs in the locations like Chibanja as a way of protecting the girl child because you find that most of the people who are drinking are just girls.

“We were expecting that the Council will also create good places to do business for entrepreneurs, since these vendors are just selling anywhere, as it was in their mandate to make sure that the City is very very clean, but they have not done much.”

Mumba who attributed this failure to the weak leadership of the councillors called for careful voting on the part of the electorate come May 21.

Said Mumba: “The challenge has been that our Council has done very little in terms of accountability, they were not that powerful,    and the Executive was more powerful than the Councillors.

“As Malawians let’s be careful how we are choosing these Councillors. They are the ones to make Mzuzu City to go forward, this is very very important.”

But the Councillors have refused to shoulder all the blame. Lusubilo Mwangonde aspiring Member of Parliament (MP) and sitting Councillor for Jombo Ward which encompasses Mzuzu’s central business district blamed vendors for refusing to be moved to designated market spaces.

“We have a lot of markets that are not occupied by the vendors, it is not a lack of markets and trading places, it is a lack of willingness by these vendors to move to these markets as they want to trade in specific places in Town,” said Mwangonde.

Mwangonde said once he is voted in as MP, he will address the City’s challenges through infrastructure development.

And Mzuzu City Mayor, William Mkandawire who is also contesting  as an independent MP for the City  told reporters in a recent interview that the Mzuzu City Council (MCC)’s failure to address various challenges in Mzuzu emanate from insufficient Government funding. Mkandawire pledged to solicit donor funding for the Council to implement its development strategy when voted in as MP.

As the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) opens the official campaign period next month, political aspirants in the May 21 Tripartite are expected to bombard Mzuzu residents with messages of a better City. Meanwhile, street vending in the City has reached unprecedented levels with illegal vendors stacking their goods in doorways of shop and in the middle of some main streets, giving motorists and other shoppers a nightmare experience when manoeuvring the City’s streets.