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Vendors' Leaders Facing Public Violence Charges Denied Bail

A Zimbabwean vendor ponders his next move after he had his wares removed by police from the streets of Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Harare Municipal Police continued evicting vendors from streets as 15 hawkers, including their leaders, who were arrested sometime this week, appeared before a regional magistrate facing charges of public violence.

This as Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, who toured the capital city assessing the situation after the forced evictions, vowed to get rid of the vendors from the streets, dismissing their threat to hit back in the 2018 elections by not voting for the ruling party.

"So you think our party wins because of chaos? We don’t thrive on chaos. We must not be blackmailed.

"You can’t allow someone to take fish from Mukuvisi [River] and start selling it to you or else they won’t vote. We don’t want that kind of blackmail,” Kasukuwere said responding to a question from reporters as to whether the party would lose sleep over the threats.

Harare and other urban centers have always voted overwhelmingly for the opposition.

National Vendors’ Union Zimbabwe chairman, Stan Zvorwadza, and director Samuel Wadzayi appeared in court Thursday together with 13 other vendors. They were further remanded in custody to next week.

Although dozens of vendors have been arrested since the beginning of the operation to drive them out last week, most of them paid fines and were released except the 15 who remain in custody.

Chairman Promise Mkhwananzi of the Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organization told Studio 7 the aim of the state was to keep them in custody to keep them away from their colleagues on the ground.

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