Livingstone city council police yesterday swung into action grabbing merchandise from street vendors operating in the town after giving them a one week ultimate in which to relocate to designated areas.
Acting town clerk, Clement Chisanga disclosed that the council wants to find a lasting solution to the problem of street vending that he termed as difficult to deal with.
Mr.Chisanga wondered why the vendors always want to be pushed out of the town when they know that trading along the shop corridors is wrong.
“You know these people always want to be policed and so we will be doing just that, am sure within this week we will start operation because yes we have also seen that this thing has gone out of hand,” he explained “But you see we need to find a lasting solution to this problem not just short term.”
And acting director of administration, John Kapumpa said the vendors have a negative perception that money is in town and hence they tend to shun the markets.
“There are a lot of empty markets around, there is Dambwa market, Linda market, and other small markets all these are trading areas but people think in town that is were there is money and so they come to town and conduct business along corridors,” he said.
He has since asked these vendors to go and do business in designated areas such as the markets.
However some vendors spoken to dispute that they were not given any prior notification and that they do not know of empty market to do business from.
One vendor who sort anonymity said that the council only cares about themselves and do not consider the plight of other people because they are doing fine financially.
“They don’t know the problems we go through, most of us on the streets are widows and we have children to feed and send
to school so we don’t just do it for the sake,” She said in vernacular.
When asked if she did not think that their way of conducting business compromised tourists’ perception of the tourist capital, she said there is nothing wrong because tourists even buy their products.
Another trader who sells fish along the corridors said a lot of tourists buy her fish because of easy access instead of them going to the market.
Street vendors who intensified their operation along corridors of most shops in town are deemed to be a stumbling block in the council’s operation of the ‘keep Livingstone clean campaign’ that was kick started in 2007 following the introduction of the ‘Keep Zambia Clean Campaign’ that was pioneered by late President Levy Mwanawasa.