The state of markets in Dar es Salaam and other major towns has led to an uproar of late. Of particular concern is the ever-present garbage that has now become synonymous with these markets, the fact that they attract hundreds of thousands of shoppers daily notwithstanding.
The importance of Mabibo, Tandale and Tandika markets in Dar es Salaam to residents of the sprawling metropolis of 6 million people cannot be overstated, but these establishments are so filthy that they constitute a serious health hazard to traders and shoppers alike.
The situation is not any better at the Magogoni fish market. The stench of rotting fish is now almost a permanent feature of this modern facility built with Japanese assistance.
It is not uncommon to find mounds of festering rubbish at these markets that has not been collected for days on end.
This explains why many of these places are mucky eyesores for the better part of the year.
Finding a clear spot to step on is an uphill task, especially when it rains and the markets are transformed into veritable mud baths.
Traders have been complaining to local authorities about this state of affairs. They have been asking what happens to the various levies and fees they are charged regularly, but no answer has been forthcoming. These charges are meant to pay for services such as garbage collection, and the general upkeep of the markets.
Traders have a right to an answer. They deal in food, which goes out to millions of urbanites, and the last thing they want to be associated with is an occurrence of food poisoning, or outbreak some nasty water-borne disease.
The local authorities, under which major markets fall, cannot shift the blame for this appalling state of affairs.
We must do away with the notion that a market is not a market unless it is filthy, and stinks to high heaven.
TIME TO ACT ON COUNTERFEITS
While an open market is fundamental to increasing investment, generating jobs, and improving the economy of any country, counterfeit goods have undermined these goals, steadily growing into a worldwide problem.
Counterfeit and other forms of illicit trade are spurred by weak border and regulatory controls, corruption, and consumer willingness to buy cheap, poor quality goods.
Research shows that counterfeits have over the years constituted a sizeable chunk of goods imported into East African Community (EAC) member states, including Tanzania. This affects not only the consumer, but also governments. We call upon the authorities in Tanzania to launch a public campaign to alert the people to the challenge.
Given the situation, the people must be fully and actively involved for any campaign to have the desired impact. It is not easy for the ordinary buyer to tell the difference between an original product and a copy — which might well end up being much more expensive in the long run if it is financial considerations that are the issue in consumer choices.
The government should also act on importers of fake products to ensure that Tanzanians get genuine value for their money.