LUSAKA City Market has been closed with immediate effect following a protest by marketeers and street vendors which resulted into a riot, Council public relations officer Henry Kapata has said.
Mr Kapata said the closure followed two riots, one on Sunday between call boys and bus drivers over a dispute on fares charged on buses that loaded from City market.
The other riot was sparked when marketeers yesterday protested against vendors who they said were not paying levies and yet obstructing their business.
Mr Kapata said the market had been closed temporarily to facilitate time for the council to settle the differences between the aggrieved parties.
The marketeers trading inside the market had been experiencing a number of thefts a situation which also contributed to the rift between them and the vendors.
A check at the usually busy market found it closed and police in full riot gear patrolling the premises.
And five call boys were arrested in connection with the Sunday fracas at the City Market.
According to some bus drivers interviewed, they said calls boys were collecting K10 from each bus after loading a situation they said was tantamount to theft.
In a separate interview, Lusaka mayor Daniel Chisenga said Lusaka City Council was working hard to decongest the vendors around City Market and see to it that they were accommodated inside the market.
Mr Chisenga appealed to marketeers to exercise patience as the local authority was trying to find a lasting solution to the problem.
“The marketeers should be patient and allow the council to decongest and create space for the vendors inside the market and start paying levies to the council like marketeers,” he said.
National Chairperson of the Commuters Rights Association of Zambia, Aaron Kamuti said it was sad that the call boys had taken over the running of some bus stations in Lusaka.
Mr Kamuti said last week he witnessed an episode where the call boys at Inter-City Bus Terminus were harassing drivers to pay fees which resulted in commuters being scared to jump on the buses.