Karonga New Market Vendors has asked authority to completely suspend all Operation Dongosolo programmes until their issues are duly resolved by the District Commissioner or they will demonstrate.

Goodwin Ghambi, Karonga Market Vendor Chairman

They have accused the Operation Dongosolo Task Force of engaging dialogue using divide and rule approach. May hay came nasty yesterday as the Karonga District Council Market Master , Mr Nyasulu and the Chairperson of Karonga Vendors, Mr Goodwin Ghambi were ambushed and forced to sleep in the market the whole night but luckily they had to leave the market around 21 hours night after i late 86 Vendors that paid plot allocation fees to Councillors amounting to K5000 demanded refund of their monies after they learnt that Council has further re-allocated Hardware Vendors from inside the market to  the same place they arleady paid, worst still even Tanzanian Nationals that own more than 2-5 selling points at Karonga Market were seen eyeing  the same plots too,this added anger on vendors ,they have since planned to present a petition to State President on Tuesday if Council dont pay them.Early this year 3 Councillors namely, Steve Simusokwe-MCP (now Chairperson), Smart Mwakaira-DPP, and Ngasala Mwangonde-DPP dubiously and Corruptly allocated and sold huge chunk of Council public land without consent from the Full Council to Tanzanians and Vendors and collected money amounting to K2.4Million, each Malawian was forced to pay K30,000.00(Maize Section).

It is believed that money collected from sales of some plots around  markert to undocumented Tanzanian Nationals exceeded K7.0Million as each was asked to pay K650-700,000.00 per market plot without issuing them receipts,Karonga Market is flooded with many undocumented Tanzanians that corrupt immigration and Council officials to protect their stay, they own 30% of shops around market  square.

The corrupt dubious land investigation promised by ACB Director Reyneck Matemba has completely stalled leaving CSOs and Community to puzzle, now vendors feel this pressure from Councillors to the Secretariate to have them relocate without plans is a ploy to protect Corrupt Councillors from ACB investigated plots, thats why they have abruptly relocated vendors at the Burnt DC Offices as one way to deleting evidence and clues, no wonder without proper Council planning Vendors in disguise of Operation Dongosolo have been dumped at DC Burnt Offices along M1 Road.Its a road traffic and health hazard zone.Enough being enough,
this morning Karonga Vendors ambushed their Chairperson ,Mr Ghambi again inside the market and luckily Ghambi had to phone and plead for help from the Chairperson of the Karonga Business Community,a grouping of several Business Associations including Karonga Vendors, in Karonga,Mr Wavisanga Silungwe, to intervene.

Speaking to Mr Silungwe, he agreed receiving a call from Ghambi and further mediating what he called a simple internal dialogue meeting between Karonga Vendors Executives and the Chairperson of the Dongosolo Task Force ,Mr Mhango,who happen to be  Council Director of Finance,at the DOF Office, but decline strongly to reveal whatever transpired.”i cant comment what they have told you, yes I called for an emergency meeting between both sides because Karonga Business Community believes in peaceful approach to matters for mutual economic development of Karonga,I can’t reveal what we have partially agreed,talk to Mr Mhango or Ghambi not me,” he cut off his phone.

But one of the Vendor who attended the caucus,a Mr Zambikaso Mkandawire revealed to Face of Malawi that when Silungwe saw that Mhango was noncommittal to peaceful dialogue, Silungwe got angry and  furiously ordered Mhango to temporary suspend  Operation Dongosolo for a time being,and told Mhango never to send any Task Force Official to the Market because of the tense situation there and the coming of State President which he didn’t want squabbles ,violenceand quarrel in Karonga,he even ordered us (Vendors )to halt our plans to present Demonstration Notice to the DC and Police which we wanted it done on Tuesday the same day His Excellency the President Dr Lazarus Chakwera will visit Karonga, Silungwe said our timing was bad and we had rushed.

Mkandawire said the Vendors agreed with Silungwe’s peaceful plan to meet the DC Mr Paul Kalilombe on Monday,where a dialogue meeting will be held but strongly warned that failure for DC to officially respond to their grieviances will have no choice but hold demonstrations.on Tuesday so that the State President should know that Operation Dongosolo in Karonga is meant to protect corrupt Councillors and sale more plots to Tanzanians, while Malawians are suffering,as well as shield Councillors from  ACB.

They have vowed never to leave inside the market,and some plan to return to the Market ,they used to ply their trade unless the Council clears the relocated ACB investigated plots first, respond to their grieviances and that those vendors previously paid for those plots should be compensated by Councillors in Millions because they were never allocated officially.

So far Chakwera adminstration has managed to protect these Councillors and no one has been arrested because at the helm is an MCP Councilor who happen to be  Chairperson,Steve Simusokwe,who agreed illegally collecting money from Vendors,though quick to claim they paid back money to Council in a Times TV interview recently but ACB is yet to make arrest because he is MCP,nothing else.

”if he was DPP they could have arrested him long time ago, Antony Mwalyambile, a vendor who sales assorted items relocated to Burnt DC Offices said.We want President to stop and see us here before going to Community Ground ,we have lots of issues,is this fair? Is this a canaan we were promised?fumed Mwalyambile.

The Chairperson for Task Force Mr Mhango acknowledged strong resistance from Vendors but assured that their concerned will be addressed by the DC.

Asked to respond to allegations that they have not consulted widely, he agreed to communication breakdown but was quick to indicate that the brockered mediation by Karonga Business Community Chairperson Mr Silungwe between Vendors and Task Force will bring something positive.

As we wrote temporary peace had return to the Market but tense to the essence that no Task Force member or Councillor can peacefully visit without some shouts. A few market vendors have today received Offer Letter of Plot Allocation after Silungwe blasted the unprocedural conduct by the
Karonga District Council.

Karonga is yet to be declared municipality. Paramount Chief Kyungu,and Business Community has been advocating for since Joyce Banda era,but nothing has materialise.

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