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Hawkers should not return to previous areas

Hawkers should not return to previous areas

REGIONAL authorities across the country recently finalised the task of relocating petty traders and hawkers commonly known as Machingas to new areas after President Samia Suluhu Hassan gave an order to the leaders to bring sanity in their areas of administration.

President Samia was prompted to issue an order to regional and other local government authorities in mid-September this year after it was learnt that hawkers had invaded almost every space in urban areas, including blocking costly built transport infrastructure.

When issuing the order the Head of State said she was aware that the government had given huge opportunity to petty traders to conduct their business activities as a means of creating employment opportunities. However, she said they had to conduct their activities at different places as per arrangements by regional administrations.

President Samia observed that it was utterly improper for hawkers to invade almost every place, including placing their goods in front of others’ shops, thus blocking customers from entering the premises, a malpractice that signalled laxity on the part of authorities in supervising how they operated.

Almost two months now since the order was issued by the Head of State, regional authorities have reported positive trends in the task after successfully relocating hawkers to other areas. 

Reports from around the country, especially in major cities indicate a major achievement in the exercise with a survey conducted in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Mbeya and Mwanza showing the cities have scored high marks.

Despite these achievements, a caution must be made to regional and local government authorities of the much expected return of the relocated hawkers to unauthorised premises.

A quick survey made in Dar es Salaam shows there are some few hawkers/petty traders who are making attempts to return to the road sides to continue with their activities.

What appears to be a contributing factor behind these attempts is absence of local vigilantes to enforce the order. There is a pressing need to have community police going around the City to enforce the order or else efforts made to relocate them would be rendered meaningless.

The task that regional authorities performed recently with regard to relocation of hawkers should now serve as a wakeup call to them (leaders) to have proper plans in future focusing on placing petty traders in proper areas.

One of the strategies that may be implemented include earmarking areas where business stalls and cubicles can be built for petty traders to operate. In future, structures such as the Machinga Complex built in Dar es Salaam might be needed in other places to address the problem.

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Author: EDITOR

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