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Gary Nkombo Accuses PF of Worsening Street Vending, Advocates for CBD Sanity

United Party for National Development (UPND) Elections Chairperson, Garry Nkombo

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Gary Nkombo, has accused the previous Patriotic Front (PF) regime of exacerbating street vending during its time in office.

In his recent Ministry Statement made in Parliament, Mr. Nkombo stated that the PF initiated the allocation of land in the Central Business District (CBD) for clutter containers to be erected by vendors. Additionally, the PF allocated and charged for illegal trading spaces along the streets of the CBD.

Mr. Nkombo emphasized that the actions of the PF were in contradiction to the Market and Bus Station Act of 2007 of the laws of Zambia, which deems street vending as an illegal activity.

Defending his Ministry’s action to remove vendors from the Lusaka CBD last week, Mr. Nkombo said, “The problem of street vending was worsened by our colleagues in the previous government, who started allocating land in the CBD for the erection of clutter containers and further allocated and charged for illegal trading spaces along the streets of the CBD. This resulted in unsustainable levels of waste generation with no sanitary facilities to accommodate the increasing number of vendors. In a continued effort to address the growing problem of street vending, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, in the last quarter of 2022, directed the Lusaka City Council to undertake an audit of available market spaces (stands) in Lusaka as well as to conduct a head count of street vendors in the Central Business District.”

The Mazabuka MP stressed the importance of restoring sanity to the Central Business District, which has witnessed a proliferation of undesirable activities, including the illegal sale of alcohol in the streets.

“Engagements were undertaken with vendors through their respective Associations to build consensus and find a solution to street vending. The findings indicated that as of May 2023, the total number of trading spaces stood at 11,039, of which 6,624 are occupied. This means that we have 4,992 unoccupied trading spaces against 4,415 street vendors. This is a demonstration that we have sufficient trading spaces to accommodate those trading from the streets,” Mr. Nkombo explained.

In January 2023, measures were announced to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic and the potential outbreak of Cholera and other diarrheal diseases due to unsanitary conditions in trading places. Consequently, Mr. Nkombo directed the Lusaka City Council and all Local Authorities across the country to remove street vendors from undesignated trading places in accordance with the provisions of SI No.12 of 2018.

Following consultations and building consensus among stakeholders to address street vending and restore sanity in the CBD, the Ministry moved to clear street vendors in compliance with the Market and Bus Station Act of 2007.

Mr. Nkombo concluded, “The street vendors have been urged to go back to the markets that have empty spaces. I am sure members can bear witness to the beauty of Lusaka that the removal of street vendors has exposed. Not the beauty but the sanity that has been restored.”