All street vendors without shops in the newly opened Soweto market should find their own trading places

As Lusaka’s old Soweto market re-opens today, the Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary in charge of Administration, Maambo Hamaundu has advised all street vendors that will not have shops in the market to find their own trading places.

Mr Hamaundu said that there are many markets across the city that remain unoccupied, saying the government will not allow vending of any street immediately after the Soweto market officially opens.

“Those that will not find alternative trading places will be forced to do so further stating that there are a lot of problems that have been created in the city which cannot be seen now but will only be noticed when the vendors leave,” Mr Hamaundu warned

Lusaka’s city market reopens today after it was gutted by fire in 2017.

And in October this year, the Government said that it expected the works on Lusaka’s gutted City market and Simon Mwewa Lane market to be completed in the next four weeks and start operating by January 2023.

Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Gary Nkombo who was speaking during a spot check of the two markets however expressed worry at the failure by the contractor to complete the works in time.

Mr Nkombo mentioned that the unnecessary bureaucracy for the delays in the completion of the project said he was disheartened that there has been minimal progress despite the release of 22 million Kwacha by the central government early this year.

He however said that a tripartite meeting recently to ensure that funds for the completion will be channelled directly to the Zambia National Service (ZNS) as the main contractor and not the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) as has been the case in the past resulting in delays.

And Lusaka City Mayor Chilando Chintangala who accompanied the Minister on his spot check said that the two facilities once completed will comprise 7,000 trading points with the bulk of street vendors expected to be accommodated and reduce on street vending.

Ms Chintangala added that her office will soon engage an independent consultancy firm to establish the total number of vendors on the streets and those trading in designated points in the city.

Fire swept through Zambia’s biggest trading hub in the early hours of Wednesday 4th July, 2017, throwing the survival prospects of thousands of marketeers in jeopardy.

And in July, 2017 the Zambia Police apprehended eleven (11) suspected arsonists in connection to the said City Market inferno that gutted over one third of the market.

Updating the nation on the ongoing investigation that has left thousands of traders in despair, the then Zambia Police Inspector General Kakoma Kangaja said that a joint investigation carried out by ZESCO, Police and the Fire Brigade have proved the act as sabotage.

Mr Kanganja disclosed that investigation had immediately ruled out an electrical fault because the ignition point for the fire had no power for a couple of days and on the morning of the unfortunate incident.

“The cause of fire is a deliberate ignition…we eliminate the possibility of electrical fault as the stand were the inferno started (stand 238) had no power on the day and days before,” Mr Kangaja said

He added that the investigation had been progressing well and the Police had arrested and detained 11 suspects so far who are also aiding in the investigation.

Mr Kangaja emphasised that the inferno that gutted City Market was a deliberate arson attempt.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, the then State House Spokesperson Amos Chanda had revealed that the inferno that gutted City Market was an act of sabotage meant to cripple the economy.

Mr Chanda had explained that the State House through executive privilege was aware of some of the investigation results that had been pointing to arson and thus President Edgar Lungu had to make a decision to curb the lawlessness before the situation went out of hand.

And on 4th July, 2017, President Lungu invoked Article 31; state of threatened public emergency, giving police more power to carry out investigations and return sanity and order to the nation.

Both the business world and even the church have welcomed the move noting that if the situation persisted it would lead to a state of emergency.

The latest organisation to welcome the move are the Catholic Bishops as they also noted that arson and sabotage were at play designed to cripple the nation.

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