Dar es Salaam small-scale traders protest planned change of ‘market’ into workshop

Chaos at Simu2000 Market as Machinga traders strike over planned DART workshop. Dar es Salaam, July 8, 2024. PHOTO | Lawrence Mnubi.

What you need to know:

  • The traders set up roadblocks to prevent vehicles from entering and exiting the Simu2000 bus station.

Dar es Salaam. Small-scale traders around Simu2000 bus terminal in Ubungo area went on strike on Monday as they protest handing over of the bus stop to Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (Dart) for construction of a workshop.

The traders commonly known as Machinga, refused to open their businesses and block the road leading to Sinza, demanding the government to reverse the decision which would affect their operations.

They set up roadblocks to prevent vehicles from entering and exiting the Simu2000 bus station.

“We don’t want a garage, we want our market,” the demonstrators were heard singing at the area.

The demonstrations were accompanied by banners displaying various messages, including a call “Mama Samia come and defend us.”

Last Thursday, Ubungo Municipality approved to hand over the 36,000-square meter area to the Dart for the construction of the agency’s garage.

Speaking to The Citizen, the chairman of the Market Improvement Sub-Committee, representing the traders, Mr Mussa Ndile, said they agreed to move from the streets to the area due to the promise that they would continue to use the Simu2000 area as their market at all times.

“Our confidence was further bolstered by the government's decision to spend approximately Sh300 million to improve the market. We are now surprised to hear that the area will be handed over to Dart,” he said.

According to him, the concern is that the traders might find themselves back in the pattern of being moved from one place to another, as was the case before the plan to organize the Machingas.

A trader at the area, Ms Rose Ndosi, said they are worried by the recent decision because they have taken out substantial loans through Vicoba and various financial institutions.

“With this decision, we do not see the prospect of repaying the debts if Dart is taking the area,” she said.

According to her, their only hope is now on the Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry and Trade, or President Samia Suluhu Hassan to intervene on the matter.

More to follow...