Association of Vendors Warn Garry Nkombo against Agitating Street Vendors

Association of Vendors, Traders and Marketeers of Zambia (AVETMZ) has warned the government against agitating the hundreds of street vendors across the country by removing them from the streets without dialogue or providing proper alternative trading spaces in available markets.

Association General Secretary Musonda Mushota says it is contradictory of government to first hike fuel prices leading to an escalated cost of living and then tempering with peoples source of income abruptly by removing them from the street when there are no available trading spaces in markets.

Mr. Mushota is urging Local Government Minister Garry Nkombo not to declare a one-man war on the informal sector but rather engage stakeholders to find a proper solution including designating some streets for regulated vending.

He was reacting to Mr. Nkombo’s directive yesterday to all street vendors to vacate the Lusaka Central Business District.

And Association president Fredrick Tembo is urging President Hakainde Hichilema to intervene in the matter and this process halted for Lusaka, Kitwe, Ndola and Livingstone until new markets are complete to accommodate all the traders.

Mr. Tembo says there is also a need for a quick meeting between local authorities, the Ministry of Local Government and market associations to find a lasting solution to this matter as opposed to forcing matters while the economy continues to negatively affect street vendors.

Mr Tembo said that his association has strongly opposed the wholesale removal of street vendors in major cities such as Lusaka and that the removal of vendors from streets by the Government should be done gradually, adding that asking all vendors must leave the streets will have a negative impact on his members.

He said AVETMZ was aware that currently, Zambia does not have the adequate market infrastructure to accommodate everyone operating in the streets.

“As the Association of Vendors, Traders and Marketeers of Zambia we want to argue what the Honourable Minister of Local Government Garry Nkombo has said over the removal of street vendors. I think as at now if we look at the status of the economy, it is biting and people are complaining so if we are going to take that hard step that street vendors should be removed from the streets then we are going to add salt, I can rest assure you that there will be dust,” he said.

“Quiet ok we appreciate the Government’s efforts as at present they are constructing massive modern markets but the truth of the matter is that those markets should be completed. It is very important that the minister calls for a national indaba, we have a very big meeting with us, the union, the people who speak on behalf of these people. It is very important that they engage us; we gave them ideas to say Mr. Minister and your Ministry we can be moving vendors into markets in phases,” Mr. Tembo said.

“As we are talking right now, my brothers, my mothers, and my sisters who are on the streets are surviving from those K2s they are getting on a daily basis but if we are going to take a position to remove them, we are going to create what we call social problems. We will be experiencing increased prostitution, stealing and other illicit activities because of the decision to remove vendors from streets,” Mr. Tembo said.

“We are in the rainy season, and you all know that in the rainy season every individual complains about the status of living. My humble appeal even to the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema please let this thing be rested first. Let us call for a meeting, a proper one. Let the council come on board, the market associations and the Government. We sit down and plan,” he said.

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