MASERU – Street vendors from various parts of Maseru Central Business District embarked on a street protest blocking roads and burning garbage and tyres this Wednesday morning over what they called unfulfilled promise by government to deliver a COVID-19 relief fund of M500 promised to each. The relief was promised in April under former prime minister Thomas Thabane’s administration.
To vent their grievance, they force-closed Chinese and other open businesses in the vicinity of their protest action which was clearly illegal because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Police were alerted and dispersed them arresting a number of vendors who seemed violent. Maphomolo Nkoale, a local shop owner attacked by the striking vendors said, “a mob of people appeared from nowhere and throw stones in my shop.”
“I tried to close the shop but it was already too late, they have destroyed all the food I had prepared. There are broken glasses in food, so I have to throw them away,” she added. Papali Tšiu a street vendors said they are annoyed with the unfair treatment by government. “The government priorities factory workers over us and it upsets us because we were all affected by the coid and the lockdown, so through this protest we want the government to fulfil its promises,” Tšiu complained.