Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Chalamila engages protesting small scale traders

Normalcy returns to Simu2000 Market following Machinga protest. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Prior to Chalamila's arrival, the District Commissioner of Ubungo, Hassan Bomboko, had visited the market but refrained from addressing the demonstrators who expressed dissatisfaction

Dar es Salaam. The Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam, Mr Albert Chalamila, made a significant visit to small-scale traders around Simu2000 bus terminal in Ubungo area on Monday in an effort to quell a strike that began earlier in the day.

The traders initiated their strike to oppose the decision of Ubungo Municipality to allocate the bus terminal area, which they also use in the trading of their items, to the Rapid Transit Agency (Dart) for the construction of a depot.

Prior to Chalamila's arrival, the District Commissioner of Ubungo, Hassan Bomboko, had visited the market but refrained from addressing the demonstrators who expressed dissatisfaction over his repeated dismissals of their attempts to engage him.

Bomboko later spoke to the media, clarifying that discussions between the Municipality and Dart concerning the area were still ongoing and no official decision had been made to transfer the area to Dart. This statement contradicted earlier reports from a July 4 council meeting where the Ubungo Mayor allegedly announced the Municipality's approval of Dart's plans.

The Chairperson of the Market Improvement Subcommittee, Mr Mussa Ndile voiced astonishment at the Municipality's decision, pointing out the lack of consultation with the affected traders. Ndile emphasized that the traders had invested heavily in their businesses and had been relocated multiple times since 2014.

"We invested our money in building stalls and establishing businesses. Today, we are facing the threat of eviction," Ndile lamented.

He further suggested that there were alternative locations within the Municipality where Dart could establish their depot without displacing existing businesses, urging authorities to prioritize the livelihoods of the traders.

In his address to the traders, Chalamila acknowledged the existence of plans to allocate the market area to Dart but stressed the importance of consulting with the traders beforehand. He informed them that he had instructed the Ubungo Municipality to conclude their discussions with Dart and present the matter to his office for further review.

"I am aware of the plans in place, and the concerns raised are valid. However, the formal decision is yet to reach my office, and you should have been involved in the process," Chalamila assured the traders.

Expressing solidarity with the traders' plight, Chalamila recognized the challenges they faced due to frequent relocations and assured them of his commitment to finding a fair resolution.

To facilitate dialogue and address the grievances, Chalamila pledged to convene meetings with all stakeholders involved in the coming week and scheduled a direct engagement with the traders on Saturday, July 13.

"Today is Monday; please continue with your activities until Saturday when I will return. I intend to hear from Dart and all relevant parties. This will be an open forum where all concerns will be addressed," Chalamila affirmed.

The visit by Chalamila signifies a critical step in resolving the escalating tensions between urban development initiatives and the rights of local traders at Simu2000 market. The outcome of these discussions will likely shape the future of the market area and the livelihoods of its traders.