KETRA KALUNGA Writes
“IT IS not possible for me as a street vendor to be selling in town from 17 to 20 hours because 20:00 hours is the time that am supposed to be in bed with my husband as a well taught wife,” says Patricia Nyimbiri, a jewellery street vendor of Kabwe.
Another vendor, Getrude Mwamba, alleged that the council was comparing women vending on the streets to commercial sex workers by forcing them to sell their merchandise from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours.
Ms Mwamba said commercial sex workers roamed the streets of the town to do their business between 17:00 hours and 20:00 hours.
Kabwe Mayor Prince Chileshe announced when he appeared on KNC Radio on Wednesday that street vending would only be allowed from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours in designated areas within the central business district (CDB).
Patricia Nyimbiri said the council’s decision to only allow street vending from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours would wreck marriages as no husband would allow his wife to be selling on the streets that late.
Ms Nyimbiri wondered what time married women selling on the streets to earn a living would be able to take care of their husbands and children if vending would only be done within the time imposed by the council.
Getrude Mwamba alleged that the council was comparing women vending on the streets to commercial sex workers by allowing them to sell from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours hours because that’s the time when commercial sex workers roamed the streets of town to do their business.
“I would like to remind the council that us women selling on the streets are respectable people who are wives and mothers, and we deserve to be treated as such. We can’t be found on the streets selling that late,” Ms Mwamba said.
The street vendors have said the stipulated time for vending is not possible.
It was an indirect way of keeping street vending banned in the district.
The vendors have proposed that the time be moved from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours to 14:00 hours to 20:00 hours.
Mercy Kashita and Alice Musonda said restricting vending from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours would not work as most of their customers were farmers who came from outside Kabwe town and went back around 16:00 hours.
Getrude Mwamba, Esther Mulenga and Ireen Chabala equally expressed displeasure in the way the police had been treating them.
Ms Mwamba said that they had suffered humiliation at the hands of the police who treated them like hard-core criminals for selling on the streets when murderers and thieves had been roaming the townships freely.
Brendah Njovu and Mutale Mulenga had the same complaint.
The vendors have proposed that the council should leave allocation of spaces to street vendors themselves and have agreed to be paying a K2 levy to the council.
The council has allowed street vending to be conducted in the central business district but restricted the trading time from 17:00 hurs to 20:00 hours between Zambeef roundabout and Gabon area, including the Mukuyu tree after a meeting with stakeholders.