Editor's Comment

No compromise on vendors

THE decision by Kitwe City Council (KCC) to relocate traders who left their spaces in Chisokone market and instead went to vend on the streets is welcome.
KCC public relations manager Chola Mwamba said in a statement issued yesterday that the decision to relocate the vendors has been necessitated by various complaints and pleas from Chisokone market traders.
The trend by marketeers abandoning trading spaces in markets in preference to trading on corridors of shops is a countrywide problem.
When Lusaka City Market was expanded years back, several marketeers abandoned their stands to go and trade along Lumumba highway.
This has led to congestion of the highway as more people joined.
Marketeers abandon their stands in markets and opt to trade from the roadside and corridors because there is no business in the markets.
In their quest to cash in on the undecided shoppers, the downside is the overcrowding of corridors and the roadside.
Apart from overcrowding the roadside and corridors, the traders end up making those places dirty with litter.
Besides, the places preferred by marketeers and other vendors lack critical amenities such as water points and toilets.
This, therefore, poses a huge environmental hazard.
Some marketeers and vendors end up helping themselves on the same corridors and roadside using all sorts of containers, most of which are improperly disposed of.
This is because most shoppers are lazy and would rather buy from the people vending within their proximity.
Marketeers in Chisokone and other markets who remain complain that vendors have been disturbing business and inconveniencing building owners in corridors where they trade from.
Owners of the buildings where vendors operate from as well as other residents have also been complaining about congestion affecting parking lots in town as well as increased littering from vending activities.
While marketeers and vendors who trade from corridors and the roadside may have good intentions, criminally minded individuals take advantage to steal from unsuspecting pedestrians and vendors.
They steal from motorists, engage in pick-pocketing and mug innocent people.
So, trading in the corridors and the roadside is a double-evil because of the illegality.
The local authorities, too, are deprived of income as they do not collect trading fees from marketeers and vendors who ply their trade from the roadside and corridors.
All these factors are the reasons why marketeers and traders should be removed from the streets.
There is absolutely no need for vendors to continue resisting efforts to relocate them to the markets.
The August 12, 2021 elections have offered the country a new start. If cadres have been barred from markets and bus stations, what makes vendors think they are special?
After all, makeshift structures on road reserves and on top of drainages built with impunity have contributed to making towns ugly.
This issue is long overdue although it has in the past been politicised.
Marketeers and vendors have for a long time been treated with kid gloves for fear of voting against the establishment.
But an illegality is an illegality irrespective of who is committing it.
Therefore, the local authorities should make things right by ensuring that marketeers get back to where they belong – markets.
But this exercise will only succeed if citizens support local authorities in this quest.
They should shun buying from traders on corridors and the roadside and instead go to the markets.
That is being responsible and law-abiding citizens.
There is need for local authorities to continue sensitising marketeers and vendors as well as raising awareness among citizens.



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