Street vendors want their trading places back

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MUTINTA MULAYE writes

FOLLOWING the banning of street vending in Lusaka last year after the cholera outbreak, some street vendors want their positions back as it is their only way of survival.

One of the affected street vendors in Kamwala Mr Costern Chongo said many of them could not afford stands at Kamwala market which cost anything up to K5, 000 each.   

“A stand in Kamwala market costs K5, 000 which many of us cannot afford and so we opt to do business in streets where customers can easily reach us,” said Mr Chongo

He however called for proper negotiations between authorities and traders so that they could be given alternative trading places because they had to generate an income and feed their families.

“Sometimes a street vendor just works for meals for that day and does not know whether or not he/she will manage to provide for the family that day,” Mr Chongo said.

He complained that last week authorities got all their goods after they were found trading in streets.

He said it was equally unfair for the authorities to charge them K250 for trading on the street. 

“If I am selling groundnuts at K15 and they get my goods and ask me to pay K250, where am I am supposed to start from? And if I fail to pay I am taken to court,” Chongo said.

Chongo said street vending was a serious challenge which needed to be addressed by authorities for a win-win situation. 

Meanwhile Kamwala market traders have expressed unhappiness with the way cadres are conducting the cleaning of the place every last Saturday of the month.

A concerned trader who spoke on anonymity complained that cadres had since taken it upon themselves to take charge and ensure traders report at the market as early as 05:00h0urs to start the cleaning exercise.

“These cadres are violent and use vulgar language especially if you do not manage to arrive for cleaning by 06:00. They also punish us by making us pay penalty fee of K50,” the female trader said 

The trader also said that if one failed to pay the penalty fee, they risked their shops  being shut by cadres until the K50 was paid.

They say things like “iwe chi sister, uleumfwa kwati niwe chi boss ohho lelo tawashitishe” meaning “you think you are the boss today you won’t sell.”

She further explained that cadres in the market had put themselves in charge and were using their presence to make money for themselves.

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