Kitwe Council, through its Public Relations Manager, Mwaka Nakweti, says it has no intention of demolishing and grabbing shops for traders at Chisokone Market.
On Sunday, Duncan Simuchimba, a Chisokone Marketeers Association Chairperson, alleged that the council was planning to displace shop owners at Chisokone Market in the guise of maintaining the market environment clean.
But Nakweti said the reports had been misunderstood and misconstrued.
“The completion of the Chisokone market shelter is of utmost importance, particularly as progress has been hindered since October 2023 due to resistance from some traders.
“This resistance has not only delayed the completion of the market shelter but has also inconvenienced over 500 traders who are forced to continue trading on the Chisokone One-way Road pending their relocation back into the shelter once completed,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
Nakweti went on to say that it was essential to emphasize that the intention of the council was not to grab trading space from the traders but to ensure the successful completion of the Chisokone Market shelter, a project long overdue.
She clarified that after engaging in numerous meetings with stakeholders, a resolution was made to remove structures that were obstructing access for the contractor to mount poles for the shelter.
Nakweti said this decision was made to expedite the construction process and address the prolonged delay in the completion of the market shelter.
“As a local authority we have the mandate through the Markets and Bus Stations Act of 2007 to manage the affairs of all markets in the district including planning and improvements,” she said.
Nakweti insisted that the relocation of traders was not affecting the entire Chisokone market but only about 89 shops that were obstructing access for the contractor to complete the works.
“It is crucial to note that alternative trading spaces have been secured within the Chisokone market not very far from the shelter maintaining a recommended distance from the construction site,” she said.
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