Barely few weeks after Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa warned that heads will roll at Lilongwe City Council, three senior officials have been sent on suspension in relation to fire that gutted down Lilongwe Main Market; leaving hundreds of vendors destitute.
And on Monday, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sent on suspension Director of Planning, Hillary Kamela, Director of Administration, Dyton Milanzi and Fire department Director, a Mr. Chapeyama.
Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa confirmed in an interview the three will be on suspension pending conclusion of investigations into the fire incident. “They were handed their letters yesterday (Monday). More details will divulged once the investigations are over, but be informed that government is taking this is seriously and we will ensure that make gets the best attention it deserves,” said Nankhumwa. Fire gutted the main market, burning billions of money in merchandise in the early morning of September 23rd. The council’s fire fighters have been finger-pointed for failing to swiftly come to the rescue of the vendors as they rushed to the scene of the incident hours late when all merchandizes and vending stalls were reduced to nothing but ashes. The cause of the fire is yet to be established. According to eye-witnesses, it started from the northern part of the market while others claim it emanated from one of the electronic repair shops within the market. The market comprises, amongst other sections, fish, hardware which had electronic equipment, motor vehicle spare parts and tinsmith, clothes where also tailors were operating from, the tight stalls’ popularly known as Mpanipani which housed merchants selling merchandise mostly from outside the country such as South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.