Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Petty Traders Invade Arusha Municipal Roads

Arusha — A STATE of anarchy has reigned here as petty traders occupy the streets, pavements and roads for their operations. At least three roads are literally impassable.

These include 'Nyamwezi Street,' 'Azimio Road,' connecting the Central Market as well as a greater section of Dodoma road. At Kilombero Market for example, traders have blocked the streets with merchandise, trolleys and carts such that even pedestrians find it uneasy to make their way through.

Pavements aligning shops and other trading stores along the main Uhuru (Sokoine) roads are equally experiencing mass invasions of hawkers and petty traders who had once been cleared from the venues but returned to the area after MP's re-assurance.

"Before authorities take action against the occupiers, we thought it was proper to educate them on the violation of city planning arrangements because streets are not meant for petty business," explained Ms Nteghenjwa Hosea, the Public Relations Officer with Arusha City Council.

However, the municipal militia previously deployed to help 'clear' the streets, have disappeared from their posts fearing retribution from the vendors who have threatened to kill them if they touched their goods.

"We are executing the laws and if the militia are afraid of the hawkers, other security organs such as the police or the anti-riot 'Field Force Unit,' will be deployed to make sure that street vendors are evicted," vowed Ms Hosea.

The Municipal Mayor, Mr Gaudence Lyimo, was of the same stand, despite the fact that the recently reinstated Member of Parliament, Mr Godbless Lema, has vowed to have the mayor removed from the office come 2013. More and more petty traders have been filling the streets with vengeance and zest, chanting, in the process, that now with their outspoken MP back, nobody would dare touching them.

Earlier, when addressing Arusha residents at a public rally, Mr Lema encouraged 'petty traders' and vendors to resume activities in the locations they find appropriate till the time the government provides them with better premises. Already the council has allocated the National Milling (NMC) grounds near Unga-Limited area as a temporary market place for traders who lacked stalls at either the main Central Market or Kilombero Market.

The area remained open grounds for sports, recreation and public meetings. Meanwhile, the Mayor for Arusha city, Mr Gaudence Lyimo, has ordered trading tenants operating at the Arusha Central Market retailer outlets to stop sub-letting their kiosks to other retailers.

The Mayor was speaking during the tenants' meeting with leaders from the city council saying that he had directed the council executives to examine closely and authenticate the ownership of each kiosk at the City's main commodity outlet.

The meeting was also held to review the tenancy rent of 6,000/- per month for each kiosk with the intention to improve the municipal income at the market where it was proposed to be 30,000/- for fruit kiosk and 42,000/- for the shoppers' kiosks a month.

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