Youths bemoan ill treatment of vendors

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FRANCIS CHIPALO writes

@SunZambian

The treatment the streets vendors in Lusaka are being subjected by the local authority was very harsh and unjustifiable, says Southern African Students and Youth’s Development Associations (SASYDA) president Ibrahim Mwamba.

And Mr Mwamba has asked Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale to intervene in the ‘unhuman’ treatment of street vendors by the Lusaka City Council (LCC).

LCC Public Relations Manager, George Sichimba, disclosed that the council arrested 899 people for street vending between July to October, 2018, out of which 290 appeared in the fast track court and were convicted accordingly.

Fifty three of the convicted K290 street vendors, failed to pay the prescribed fines resulting in them serving a custodial sentence of two weeks simple imprisonment.

But Mwamba stated that, “It is my considered view that the current action undertaken by LCC over this issue is very harsh. We must look at this issue deeper than the surface suggests.”

He told The Sun that the reasons given by LCC and the Ministry of Health that street vending was the source of the recent cholera outbreak, is political.

“The assertions made by LCC and Ministry of Health are so far opinionated as there is no solid evidence to suggest that street vending was the cause of Cholera in the years,” stated Mwamba.

“Cholera outbreak has been a chronic issue in Zambia, whose source can be anywhere including the affluent areas in Lusaka as long as hygiene is not observed,” he said.

Mr Mwamba said the markets places currently under construction are not enough to accommodate every trader in the city.

“I am aware that your Ministry has been building trading places across the city for the sellers of merchandise. These projects good they are, the reality is that these markets are not yet ready to be occupied and would not be enough to accommodate each and every trader out there,” he said.

Mr Mwamba said street vending was the only source of livelihood for many Lusaka households.

“The reality is that, most of the people that are found selling merchandise on the streets depend on the very businesses they do, for survival of their families,” said Mr. Mwamba.

The treatment these people are subjected to, in my considered view, is harsh. It is worse because the truth is we do not have the capacity to accommodate all of them in markets,” he said.

“I understand Street Vending is itself against by-laws by the local authorities. However this being true, we have to consider the big picture,” he said.

“We ought to correlate our by-laws and their implementation with the reality. The reality is that our economic status does not allow certain ‘good intentions’ to be undertaken,” Mr. Mwamba said.

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