Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli

A ‘Daily News on Saturday’ survey in Dar es Salaam established that vendors were pulling down their stalls at Mwenge, Ubungo, Kimara, Tandika, Manzese and Mbagala while venting anger at the no-nonsense minister.

“Tanroads should ensure that all vendors doing their activities within road reserve space are evicted in a week’s time if they fail to relocate by themselves,” Dr Magufuli said.

Dr Magufuli said people invading road reserve areas countrywide inconvenience other road users especially pedestrians and endanger lives. “It’s authoritarian and bad use of ministerial powers,” said a mobile phones recharge voucher seller at Mwenge bus stand where hawkers have turned the station into an open market.

“So where does Magufuli think we are going to do our business and how will we survive?” wondered one, Ali Iddi, who was found busy demolishing his wooden shop.

At Ubungo, the scene was similar with hawkers removing their wooden tables and stalls off the walk way bringing relief to pedestrians and motorists. “It’s very convenient now, it was chaotic here with no walk way left, people and cars were fighting for the road,” said Ibrahim Kajwani, a taxi driver at Ubungo who said Magufuli’s order needs backing from Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC) which has failed to clean periphery roads and left them to street vendors.

The city’s pathetic walk ways and sand buried roads have in recent days been taken over by vendors selling clothes, shoes, kitchenware, electronics and other merchandise. The city council has been collecting levy from vendors who have invaded bus stands and done very little to clean up the mess..

“This city council has failed to live up to our expectations and should be replaced by a Commission like the one led by Charles Keenja,” said Peter Lwegasira on Mabadiliko social networking site which draws together over 1,000 active members. Mr Lwegasira revisited the days when Charles Keenja’s Commission was appointed by former President Benjamin Mkapa’s government to replace a reckless DCC.

“Where are our councillors now that the city is covered in filth and meat transportation is in poor vans instead of special vans as was the case before,” Lwegasira wondered. Defending the DCC against its dissolution, Ubungo lawmaker, John Mnyika said the problem is not with a less functioning city council but rather the entire system of administration. He added that decentralization has not properly given central government powers to the councils.

“The duty of keeping the city clean and addressing the problem of street vendors rests with the three municipal councils and not the Dar es Salaam City Council,” argued Mnyika who is also a councillor under the current setup. Mnyika said the city is facing an uphill task in addressing overcrowding and inadequate revenue collections which has made it difficult to meet costs of providing social services such as keeping vendors off the bus stands and roads and paying private environment cleaning companies.

“The system is just very ineffective from the top and needs urgent overhauling,” argued the Chadema lawmaker. With over four million people, Dar es Salaam’s majority traders don’t pay market levy and instead pay bribes to disorganized and corrupt militias who regularly harass them but never drive them off the roads.

By FINNIGAN WA SIMBEYE, Tanzania Daily News

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