Thursday, July 18, 2024

Vendors Rally Behind Chakwera, Reject Demos

Vendors clashing with demonstrators

Tension gripped Lilongwe on Thursday morning when vendors clashed with demonstrators led by Bon Kalindo. The vendors were determined to safeguard their goods amidst the scheduled protests against the government.

Kalindo had declared his intention to lead protests in Lilongwe, but this move faced opposition from the city’s vendors. They contended that their livelihoods would suffer severe disruption.

Numerous vendors expressed their concerns, emphasizing the detrimental effects of the demonstrations on their businesses. They feared that any interruption could lead to substantial financial losses.

Charles Namiyasi Jere, a fresh fruits and vegetables vendor near the Main Mosque in Old Town, said: “Some of us obtained loans, and to miss the whole morning without plying our business is a huge loss and will even affect our repayment plan.”

Jere understands that the protesters’ have the right to demonstrate but also underscored the vendors’ right to earn a living without undue disturbances.

One of the primary concerns voiced by the vendors pertained to the delay in the commencement of the protests. As the demonstrators slowly gathered, vendors were unable to showcase their goods and attend to their customers, intensifying their dissatisfaction.

Mary Kanyamula, a vendor selling secondhand clothing, claimed that certain protesters exploited the situation to pilfer their merchandise.

“We noted that some of the demonstrators had started stealing our things. We could not stand that, so we defended our property, and thankfully, the police were there to assist us by chasing them,” Kanyamula explained.

The confrontation between vendors and demonstrators underscores the intricate equilibrium between the practice of freedom of speech and the right to make a living.

While individuals possess the right to articulate their grievances and engage in non-violent protests, it’s crucial to contemplate the unforeseen repercussions such demonstrations might impose on fellow citizens, particularly those who rely on their businesses for sustenance.

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