Street vendors’ conduct unacceptable

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 10:21:24 +0000

 

WE commend the Zambia Police for arresting 35 street vendors for unruly behaviour at Chisokone market in Kitwe yesterday.

It must be appreciated that the decision by the Kitwe City Council to rid the streets of Kitwe of street vending is meant to benefit the residents of the city including the vendors themselves. The merits for the decision outweigh the demerits in more ways than merely maintaining hygiene standards.

Local authorities are mandated to manage markets falling within their territorial jurisdiction and come up with by-laws that forbid street vending.

It is common knowledge that local authorities have lobbied for funding to facilitate the construction of markets in town and cities to afford business men and women decent trading places as well as give customers an opportunity to buy merchandise from one place.

It is a wrong perception for the street vendors to think that loyal and law-abiding traders who conduct their businesses from designated market places do not make profits.

We think that Kitwe City Council’s stance not to allow street vending must be supported by all well-meaning Zambians. There is need for orderliness in the way that trading is conducted by all those who want to be engage in various business ventures.

The decision by vendors to return to the streets even when they know that the local authority had earlier removed them to keep the streets of Kitwe clean must be condemned. Such levels of lawlessness should not be condoned.

It is unacceptable for the vendors to want to return to the streets at the mere instigation of a mere marketer who announced that street vendors had been allowed to go back to the city corridors.

A marketer is not a local authority to reverse the decision of the entire local authority which was passed barely two months ago. Assuming this were true, why should the Kitwe City Council reverse its decision and make the announcement to the street vendors through a marketer?

We totally agree with the Kitwe Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe that there are some elements who would want to gain political mileage over the issue of street vendors to tarnish the image of the local authority and the name of President Lungu.

Why should a marketeer gather courage to make such a misleading statement?

There is need for the police on the Copperbelt to conduct thorough investigations to know who else other than the woman only identified as “Bana Mpundu” were behind inciting this riotous conduct by vendors in Kitwe.

Going by the record of politically inclined activities at Chisokone market, it would not be wrong to suspect political sabotage.

For this reason, police must quiz the 35 who have been arrested to ensure that no such unruly and riotous behaviour repeats itself.

And we think the action by the police to disperse violent vendors using teargas canisters was the right step to ensure law and order prevailed on the street of Kitwe.

It is evident that the police were forced to resort to detonating teargas canisters because the vendors had started throwing stones at the council police whom they insulted and called all sorts of names.

Certainly, this sort of conduct is unacceptable and must be condemned by all patriotic Zambians.

We join the marketeers and residents of Kitwe in strongly condemning the unruly conduct of street vendors at Chisokone market in Kitwe and urge the police to deal with all those breaking the law with impunity firmly.

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