Mzuzu vendors end boycott

Mzuzu Market vendors have agreed to resume paying market fees after a two-year boycott aimed at forcing Mzuzu City Council (MCC) to remove illegal traders from streets to designated areas.

Mzuzu Market vice-chairperson Edward Majaliwa said in an interview on Friday that vendors agreed to resume paying the market fees following talks between MCC and the vendors’ representatives.

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He said:  We met to discuss how best to resolve the illegal vending issue. We agreed to resume paying the market fees this week, considering financial challenges MCC is facing.”

Majaliwa said the market vendors stopped paying market fees because vendors outside the market were getting all customers while not paying any fees to the city council.

Mzuzu Vendors Association secretary Scrivina Kabano Dzonzi said during a meeting summoned by councillors, the association rejected the council’s proposal to allow illegal vendors start paying market fees.

“We felt that once the illegal vendors started paying the fees, it will be difficult to remove them from the streets. We want the council to find an appropriate place for them where they can be paying market fees,” he said.

MCC spokesperson McDonald Gondwe said revenue collection from Mzuzu Market went down from over K300 000 per day to about K25 000 because of the boycott.

“Now that the vendors have agreed to start paying the market fees and indeed that they will be helping city officials to collect this money, we applaud them,” Gondwe said.

He said as the city continues to grow, MCC has a mandate of opening new markets and that part of the money is used towards such initiatives.

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