An investigation into the causes and effects of conflicts among street vendors and the local authority within the trading areas along freedom way and the peripheral of Soweto market of Lusaka city in Zambia.
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Market places can be seen as particularly valuable spaces for exchange, negotiation and mediation, by bringing conflict related groups together, particularly in boundary regions. Furthermore, business people can be considered as connectors who bring groups together. Indigenous market associations, landlords (who may provide accommodation, brokerage and language services to visiting traders), and other intermediaries can use their entrepreneurial energy for conflict avoidance, in reducing conflict escalation and in conflict management. The research therefore investigate the nature of conflicts that exists amongst the street vendors and the authorities in the freedom way and the peripheral of Soweto market in Lusaka city. The causes of conflict amongst street vendors and the authorities in the freedom way and peripheral of Soweto market, the effects of conflict amongst the street vendor traders and the authorities and also an assessment on the ways of resolving conflicts on the trading areas in the freedom way and the peripheral of Soweto market. The research design used was a qualitative and the sample population was 122 respondents including the street traders, officials from Lusaka City Council, officials from Zambia Police Service, Soweto Market Committee members and Street Vendors Association members Echoing from the study, the major challenge faced by street vendors is eviction by the local authority. The other challenges faced by street traders included: lack of security in the trading areas, theft and high rental charges by shop owners. These are issues of concern among street traders. The study has established that there is conflict between the local authority and street vendors trading along freedom way and the peripheral of Soweto market. This could attributed to the fact that these traders are operating illegally (without licences) echoing from the Statutory Instrument Number 44 of 2007, which calls street vending as a public nuisance. These conflicts have negative impact on the livelihood of the traders as the study revealed that there was loss of businesses that resulted into loss of incomes among the traders. Physical damage to both government and private property was also incurred. In some instances loss of lives had been recorded. Consequently these conflicts affect the economy through loss of jobs, loss of revenue and tax collection by the local authority. The study also revealed that the local authority does not engage street vendors in conflict resolution. Therefore, participation of street vendors in planning and management of conflicts in trading areas is an issue of concern. Political interference was one the key factors that lead to poor management of conflicts. Through the study, respondents recommended that the state and relevant stakeholders should engage street venders in finding the lasting solutions to resolving conflicts in trading areas. It is imperative that street venders get involved in all stages of planning and management of issues affecting them in order to ensure sustainable peace and social economic development. Conflicts should be resolved in the trading areas through the provision of alternative and permanent trading areas to street vendors. Sensitization of street vendors on management of garbage and aspects of hygiene is of paramount importance. There is need for the government and relevant stakeholders to tackle the structural causes of conflict through promoting conflict sensitive economic growth and diversification of livelihoods away from resource constraints (such as land). Particular attention should be given to promoting the opportunities for unemployed and underemployed young men, and linking conflict and economic development programmes.
The University of Zambia