Karume market traders protest two weeks probe time for inferno

18Jan 2022
Francis Kajubi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Karume market traders protest two weeks probe time for inferno

HUNDREDS of traders at Karume Market in Dar es Salaam who makeshift shops were razed down by an inferno during daybreak on Sunday have requested Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Amos Makalla to allow them continue with their business while a probe team he has appointed continues with its work.

Karume traders place block road with stones amid riot to push the government to allow them to continue with their trading activities as usual. On Sunday, January 16, 3,500 traders were forced to halt their trading activities after the Karume Market was razed to ashes by fire.

Speaking to Smart Money in a random survey, the traders who largely constitute of second hand clothing retailers said the two week probe team period is very long for them to survive without doing any business.

“We should not be taken as opposing the Regional Commissioner’s directive but rather the government should understand that our daily lives depend on doing businesses at this market,” said Samira Minja, who sells female second hand clothes.

She said the two weeks probe team period which RC Makalla has ordered denies them any access to the market hence renders them idle hence without an income. “We are ready to clean up the place and continue with business activities while investigations are ongoing,” she argued.

Minja who revealed that she lost property worth millions of shillings through the Sunday dawn fire, argued that most of them including herself have loans to service hence two weeks without working will be disastrous.

Minja’s arguments were backed by another petty trader, Mohammed Kemo who said the loss that he suffered worth millions of shillings means that he needs to get down to work immediately to raise money need to repay a loan.

“I’m supposed to pay 80,000/- every week to my Saccos which gave me the loan. With this loss, I plead with the government to help us by finding a way to speak to our lenders so that they give us grace period,” Kemo said.

He pointed out that the Savings and Credit Cooperative Society needs the debt to be serviced regularly as per contract agreement saying staying idle while waiting for the probe team’s report will be counterproductive.

“We are also demanding a permanent solution from the government on these fire incidents which keep happening in Dar es Salaam in recent days because they are holding us back in realizing economic developments,” Kemo lamented.

Responding to the traders’ requests after visited the razed market area this week, Ilala District Commissioner, Ng’wilabuzu Ludigija said during the 14 days period of investigations to establish cause of the fire, anyone with who has a loan to service, should visit his office for consultation.

Ludigija who did not directly address the time period concern raised by the traders, simply assured them that his office will intervene and talk to creditors about issuing a grace period and possible rescheduling.

“Traders who have outstanding loans and find it hard to service them are welcomed to my office so that we can find a way to talk to their lenders,” he promised saying the government will give them all the support needed to recover from the losses.