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Zimbabwe Vendors Resist Eviction Attempts, Vow to Stay Put

  • Thomas Chiripasi

FILE: Zimbabwean vendors hold banners urging the government to stop their forced removals from the street during a demonstration in Harare, Wednesday, June, 24, 2015. Hundreds of vendors took to the streets of Harare demonstrating against an impending eviction from the streets, saying they will not move despite a Friday deadline to do so. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

FILE: Zimbabwean vendors hold banners urging the government to stop their forced removals from the street during a demonstration in Harare, Wednesday, June, 24, 2015. Hundreds of vendors took to the streets of Harare demonstrating against an impending eviction from the streets, saying they will not move despite a Friday deadline to do so. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The situation nearly turned nasty in Harare on Tuesday as some vendors resisted an attempt by council to relocate them to vending sites that have been set up by the local authority.

Some municipal police tried to destroy market stalls erected by vendors at Copa Cabana and urging the street traders to relocate to new vending sites that have been set up by the city council, a move that was resisted by the vendors.

Promise Mkwananzi, programs coordinator of the Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organization, told Studio 7 that the actions of the municipal were unjustified because council has not yet put proper infrastructure at the new newly-designated vending sites.

Mkwananzi urged the council to ensure that all the street traders were accommodated in stalls that have proper infrastructure and are moved after government has agreed with all stakeholders on proper ways of relocating vendors.

He added that authorities should ensure that they create employment and put the country’s economy back on track first before evicting the street traders.

The board secretary of the vendors union of Zimbabwe, Justice Munayi, who also sells wares on Harare’s street pavements, condemned the municipal police action. He tells Studio 7 that removing vendors from the streets will have a negative impact on their lives as the economic downturn shows no signs of abiting.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said his council’s policy is that no vendor will be forcibly evicted from the city center.

Meanwhile, the drama at Town House over the suspension of Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi continued today with Manyenyeni giving him a two-day ultimatum to submit his employment profile.

This comes after Mahachi returned to resume his duties at Town House yesterday, less than a week after being sent on forced leave.

The Harare mayor told a news conference that he would now engage the newly-appointed Minister of Local Government, Savior Kasukuwere, over Mahachi’s matter.

But Kasukuwere noted that he was still new in the ministry and would want to get an insight into the affairs of the Harare City Council before making any pronouncements.

Mahachi was suspended for allegedly failing to give the city salary schedules for council executives.

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