Mzuzu’s Ndata market ‘too small’ to accommodate thousands of vendors in the city

By: Staff Writer

Apart from being poorly designed, constructed and situated, vendors in Mzuzu have described the main market in the city as ‘too small’ to accommodate them.

The market derided as Ndata by traders in the city lies behind Livingstonia Synod offices, metres away from Mzuzu stadium and Kunyangwa river.

Akometsi visit to the Market on Monday, established that the number of vendors scampering around the city is thrice the capacity of the market.

As vindicated by one of the vendor, trading in raw foods, Yamikani Banda, the market has tiny store rooms that can only accommodate some few goods from few vendors.

“This is why we are found hovering around the city. The market was constructed mindless of the mushrooming number of vendors. We’re more than thousands in the city now,” said Banda.

Mzuzu vendors trading outside the market

The littered city characterized by rampant refuse scattered everywhere around, is, as economists put it, one of the fastest growing in Africa.

The poor management of vendors, akometsi noted, is crippling revenue collection for the city, a situation that leads the council into debt slavery.

Mobile vendors are not taxed and this running battles between them and the city council are also bearing negative economic outcomes to both parties.

“These people lack planning. This is why they fail to manage us. We’re not insolent people when it comes to payment of market fees but why should we pay as if we’re trading in designated places?” Questioned Rose Lwanja, Bonya vendor.

We also found hundreds of vendors trading along the northern corridor and just some minutes to our visit at the place, the police came in, pounced on the vendors and running battles ensured.

One of the victims of the crushes, Maria Zulu, a pregnant woman, claimed that the police had bruised her before confiscating her bananas.

“They might even have killed my unborn baby. I feel very numb and some severe stomachaches,” she whined.

Minutes later, after the police had gone, vendors who had managed to run with their businesses were seen trooping back on the roads, touting for customers to buy from them.

One of the customers described the situation as pathetic and worrisome at the age of Malawi in post colonial epoch.

“This results from poor planning of the city. The challenge we have as a country is, we don’t plan for next generations. If they had planned earlier, this scenario wouldn’t have been happening,” he said.

We followed up the issue with the city council public relations officer, MacDonald Gondwe who, at the time of our visit, was reportedly, out of his office for other official engagements. His telephone went unanswered for countless trials.

We left him a questionnaire in his official electronic mail box of which, as of the publication of this article, was yet to be responded to.

Meanwhile, crushes between the council and the vendors rages on with no clear sign of simmering.

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