Political Transitions And Vulnerability Of Street Vending In Malawi
According to the World Bank and United Nations indicators, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa. During the one party autocratic rule of Dr Banda from 1964 to 1993, the government encouraged people to work on their farms; hence the informal sector was largely suppressed. When the multiparty system of governance was introduced in 1994, a new government led by a business tycoon Bakili Muluzi of UDF introduced business loans to assist Malawians set up informal businesses. Consequently, the informal sector – mainly street vending- mushroomed in all the urban centers of Malawi. The president himself said that he was patron of the street vendors. When another president Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, an economist, took over the government in 2004, he insisted that all vendors must be removed from the streets. In April 2006, he mobilized the police and the army through what was termed operation dongosolo (Dongosolo is a chichewa word which means ‘order’) to remove all vendors from the streets. This was effectively implemented despite serious threat of opposition from vendors. The informal sector that had been a source of livelihood for most unemployed Malawians was wiped out within a matter of days. Using a qualitative approach, the study aims at analyzing the political transition in the country and its consequences on street vending- especially in the city of Zomba. The findings show that political transitions have had a positive and negative impact on street vending in the country.
Volume (Year): 4 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3(12) (August)
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