“We just hope that the next president will sustain the late President Magufuli’s way of embracing petty traders, he was really our saviour,” said Fatuma Mohammed, a food vendor at the ultra-modern bus complex which was inaugurated by the late president in February.
She said, Magufuli had regularly sought to incorporate them in the mainstream formal business sector by first giving them identification cards but also ensuring that they do their business activities anywhere so long as they abide by the laws.
“We had no place at this terminal because authorities said we can’t afford the rent but when he came to open the terminal, he ordered that space be made available to ‘Machingas’ and ‘Mama lishes’ in line with regulations,” she argued.
Mohammed’s observation was backed by Samuel Mrisho who said Magufuli’s death has robbed them of a valuable and trusted leader who always defended rights of small business owners. “Wherever he went in the country he talked I defence of ‘Machingas’ but also made decisions in our favour, as a group we are left as orphans and only hope that Mama Samia will carry on his legacy,” said Mrisho.
He argued that for a long time in the country when world class facilities such as Mbezi International Bus Terminal are built by the government, small business owners are sidelined through hiked rent or simply corruption among public officials. “When he came to open the terminal last month, President Magufuli ordered that there should be space for ‘Machingas’ and ‘Mama lishes’ and that’s why we are here today,” he argued.
In his inaugural address of the bus terminal during the end of February, President Magufuli ordered city officials to make sure that there is space for petty traders and food vendors. “If there is space for a hotel of restaurant offering services to customers, then certainly there should be some shelter for ‘Mama ntilie’ to offer services to low income people,” he ordered saying huge government investment s in infrastructure are aimed at benefitting the majority poor.
“The government has invested billions of shillings at this terminal so that everyone should benefit from it and not only high end income people. My government is for the majority ordinary people who voted me overwhelmingly during last October elections,” Dr Magufuli noted. He ordered Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Abubakar Kunenge to ensure that the majority petty traders have room to do their businesses and earn a living in the area.