By Edwin Mbewe
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Minister of Local Government, Unity, and Culture, Richard Chimwendo Banda, has issued a directive to the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to take immediate action against illegal street vending.
Chimwendo made this appeal during the Lilongwe City summit held on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at the Bingu International Convention Centre.
The minister emphasized that addressing the issue of illegal street vending does not require a long-term plan.
He therefore urged the council to explore alternative measures to ensure clean streets.
“We have already engaged with the street vendors and communicated with them. We have emphasized the importance of not removing them forcefully.
“But they need to understand why it is necessary to relocate to designated areas for selling their merchandise. However, we strongly condemn any violent actions against vendors as they are fellow Malawians,” said Chimwendo.
During group discussions, Rodson Kabambe, a businessperson in the city, suggested that vendors require civic education to understand why the government, through the City Council, intends to remove them from the streets.
Kabambe added that the increase in illegal street vending is partly due to corruption among City Council authorities and individuals masquerading as vendors while engaging in theft.
In addition to addressing illegal street vending, the summit delegates also deliberated on waste management, infrastructure development, and green and leisure activities. Possible resolutions were formulated for each area.
Regarding waste management, Minister Banda expressed dissatisfaction with the City Council’s performance, stating that achieving a clean city does not require a long-term plan. He gave the council a one-month ultimatum to effectively manage waste in the city and all markets.
Chimwendo assured the public that updates on the actions taken in response to the raised resolutions would be provided within six months.
Both the ministry and the city council are committed to addressing the concerns raised, particularly the targets they have set for themselves.
The city council also presented its vision for Lilongwe City during the summit.
Mayor Richard Banda urged all vendors to relocate to the designated markets. He further mentioned that stakeholders such as the World Bank are ready to assist in implementing certain projects.
The summit was under the theme, “My City My Responsibility, Together Building the City We Want”.