Vendors at Zomba central market have warned that they will not allow the city council to open the newly constructed building in the market unless the council conducts itself in a transparent manner.
The building, which was initially being used as warehouse for vendors, is under renovation to turn it into shops for the vendors.
Chairman for the vendors, Innocent Chikhawula, said among other things, the vendors are suspecting a foul play by the city council officials on the criteria used when selecting people to be allocated the shops.
Chikhawula said: “Our expectations were that the people who were plying their businesses outside the building before it went under renovations would have been the ones to be allocated with the shops but to our surprise we have learnt that the council officials are planning to allocate the shops to strangers who don’t even ply their businesses in the market.”
The vendors have also expressed shock over the K20, 000 non-refundable commitment fee to be paid by those willing to occupy the building saying the amount is too exorbitant.
But Zomba City Council Public Relations Officer, Mercy Chaluma, described the allegations as baseless.
“We haven’t yet allocated the shops to people so for someone to say there has been a foul play it’s really surprising.
“But as a council we conduct our business according to the laws of the land and our own by-laws and we are mandated to allocate space in the market to any person without discussing the matter with the market committees or the vendors,” said Chaluma.
Commenting on the K20, 000 commitment fee, Chaluma said the decision was made to make sure that those willing to occupy the shops are really committed so as to avoid allocating the shops to defaulters.
Meanwhile the council has confirmed that it has received overwhelming response from people willing to occupy the shops and many have already paid the K20, 000 non-refundable commitment fee.