By Vincent Gunde
DOWA VENDORS BOYCOTT MARKET FEE FOR FLASH TOILETS
The Dowa main market committee has assured the council that vendors will continue boycotting market fee until the council comes out clearly on the promised flash toilets in the market.
According to the committee, the council disclosed a budget of K8.1 million at a meeting held on 5th April, 2019 for the flash toilets, one at Mponela and Dowa, but up to now , they see nothing on the ground.
The committee says it is very thankful to the council that it has now provided water in the market and welded all the main market entrance gates but ,it is silent on the flash toilets and employing additional security officers from two as part of beefing up security in the market.
It claimed that the two security officers are not trusted due to their habit of excessive beer drinking claiming that at one night, thieves snatched away all the keys while they were fast asleep.
When contacted, the council’s Acting Director of Planning and Development, Yusuf Laki ,said he need more time to respond and the matter at hand needs wide consultations since he is new in the office and was quick to point out that the council is committed to improve the welfare of the vendors in all of its markets.
Speaking in an interview, main market committee vice chairperson, Paul Kampoto Msakambewa, said all of what the vendors need is transparency of the disclosed amount of money and the flash toilets.
Msakambewa said only vendors who ply their business outside the market are the ones paying for market fee because they does that in their own interest defying the council’s directive of relocating themselves inside the market.
He said vendors are also concerned with the state of sanitation affairs at a council rehabilitated toilet behind the Dowa community centre hall, appealing to the District Health Officer ( DHO) to send a team of staff to see for themselves a mess happening there.
The vice chairperson claimed that vendors will not sleep as they did with the Dowa rest house rehabilitated to a lodge where millions of kwachas are being spent for a project which has no impact.
In one of last year’s full council meeting, former legislator for Dowa South East, Harry Njoka Chipeni ,expressed a concern over the council’s rated one of the best performing councils in Malawi when the same is failing to build toilets in its satellite markets.
Njoka observed that the council collects more revenues from the markets and there’s no impact which vendors can see as something which their council is doing in terms of service delivery.