Monday, October 13, 2014

Queries on eviction of Machingas in Kariakoo mounted-Survey

SOME people have appreciated the operation currently being undertaken by Ilala militiamen in their forceful eviction of petty traders popularly known as ‘Machingas’ who clogged main streets around Kariakoo business complex in Dar es Salaam city, saying that the move has rendered free movements in areas which were formerly impassable. The survey carried out last week witnessed scores of city militiamen in their active operation of evicting petty traders being carried out along Tandamti Street, although some people condemned the exercise saying it is being conducted with cruelty. In an interview with this paper, quite a number of people have appreciated the move dubbed, “Cleaning the city” with few who felt the pinch of the exercises, showed sympathy to the affected petty traders. Speaking while in grief stricken mood, Suzana Mwombeki a resident of Kibaha Mwendapole said that, the approach used by the militiamen to attack traders is in a harsh manner bearing the fact that, traders have their valuable merchandise which some gets destroyed and never compensated for the losses incurred. Suzana who is in the city to fulfill a business appointment, could not restrain her tears as they flowed down her chicks when she took a glimpse as militiamen as they were harassing petty traders without using peaceful ways to relocate them.Elaborating more, she witnessed a single woman with her breastfeeding young baby strapped on her back being harassed at the scene without mercy after the soldiers had invaded her and began picking up her business items which she had spread on the ground. Lucky petty traders from the same scene swiftly managed to escape their sight. Suzana who is among the less feared women was terrified at that time when she saw such a large group of militiamen who when they had approached the area began to stamp on the tomatoes and some fruits of the fleeing petty traders while they took others along with them to unknown destination. Narrating the ordeal, she stood in great amazement while watching the drama and wondered in disbelief without knowing what to do over what was happening at such unlikely time of the day,  Tears from her was an indication that she felt sympathetic with the woman whom she regarded as being among the low income people struggling for a daily bread for the entire family which for that day might have probably ended up sleeping with empty stomach. This is a terrified situation that has caused an endless debate among the people around who used to witness the drama whenever the two parties come into confrontation while in abrupt operation in three Dar es Salaam municipal councils of Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni.  Under the prevailing situation, most people have been saying that lack of employment is what takes petty traders into such extremes. For a new comer in Dar es Salaam city it would be a great surprise when walking down the main streets and happen to encounter with such a fracas, and probably would dare to criticize the offending group who doesn’t want to comply with the laid down rules and regulations altogether. Jacob Onesmo who is a business man in Morogoro town narrated his experience to the writer of this news in favour of the city militiamen. According to him, petty traders are always at fault for disobeying city orders which requires them to vacate from trading in unrestricted areas especially within the road reserve. 

He noted that, whenever he arrives in Dar es Salaam city, he has been experiencing some difficulties while trying to force his movements through if in a hurry at Kariakoo whenever he goes for shopping of his business goods there. Onesmo who trades in ICT tools and other electronic gadgets used to order a bulk purchase of various kinds of assortments at Kariakoo main shopping centre in the city. He noted that, the area is so overcrowded with people all the time throughout the day. Ostracizing the plight of the area, he says that, he sometimes encounters with lots of difficulties mostly when in need of transport to carry his purchased goods due to the fact that, all streets in the area are clogged and busy with petty business activities that it sometimes become difficult to pass through. Efforts to remove petty traders in the city has become an uphill task indeed, an exercise which sometimes ended up in violence when the city militiamen confronts petty traders, says one shopkeeper who identified himself by one name Shomari. However, he suggested that, ‘the operation like this one should be planned with successful strategic plans and properly organized, otherwise hatred among them would continue unabated.  He suggested that, the authorities from the local government to national level should deliberate on the possible ways on how they could empower small scale traders by giving them special areas to conduct their activities.  Shomari had doubts that how comes that, such operations should involve confiscation of vendors’ merchandise and other properties and where are they actually taken to. Have their owners given ample time to reclaim them later on, he queried. Contacted for comment over the matter, the Municipal council legal officer, Mashauri Musimu said that, the confiscated goods are reserved in a room at the ward office and sometimes in court awaiting owners to come and claim them.  However, he denied the fact that such goods are distributed among workers of the council as widely speculated by people in the street. He clarified that, once owners appears in court are normally fined for disobedience after which are handed back their properties with strict order not to repeat conducting business in restricted areas. He further said that, the funny thing is that, most traders do not appear in court to meet such penalties which are normally imposed as fines between Shj. 50,000/- and Sh. 100,000/-, and instead resort to boycott their goods. He further clarified that, the perishable goods such as tomatoes, fruits and those likely to go bad are taken to government children’s centres (approved school) for consumption. For none perishable goods, he said are publicly auctioned. The Ilala Municipal Public Relations Officer, Tabu Shaibu said that, the move by the municipality is intact as it aim to remove vendors who have been inconveniencing movements of motor vehicles and people as most of them have invaded road reserve. According to her, the operation will continue as usual to make sure that such traders do not conduct their businesses within the road reserve areas as stipulated in local government laws, otherwise the authorities would continue arresting them and their properties. He says that, the continued presence of these traders in these areas is against the law and that it was legal to confiscate their properties and tendered them as physical evidences before the court while on trial. Commenting over the harassments caused during the operation, the Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander, ACP Sulleiman Kova said that, the police deals with criminal offences and ensures the safety of the citizens in the country. But, he continued and said that if such operation would endanger petty traders in one way or another, then the police would intervene for the interest of maintaining safety and noted that, since the operations started the police have not been involved so much.

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