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Vendors Say Municipal Police Demanding Bribes to Operate in Harare

FILE: Municipal police clash with vendors in Harare. (Photo: Thomas Chiripasi)

Some street traders operating in Harare’s central business district are alleging that municipal police are demanding bribes to allow them to sell their wares.

They told VOA Studio 7 their goods are being confiscated if they don’t pay the bribes of between $2 and $10.

One such trader is Lynette Marongwe who sells second-hand clothes along Julius Nyerere Way.

Another vendor, Tendekai Mashavira, told Studio 7 that what worries is that council employees are taking home huge sums of money daily after collecting these bribes.

As a result, Mashavira said she would be left with almost nothing for the upkeep of her four children, all of whom are of school-going age.

The board chairperson of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe, Stan Zvorwadza, said council police are being protected by their seniors at Town House when such corruption cases are reported to the police.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba who repeatedly said that she was in meetings.

But council spokesperson, Michael Chideme, said his council police are acting professionally.

Zvorwadza also claimed that some of his organization’s members that acquired vendors’ cards from the city council were failing to get places to trade from at the newly-designated vending points although authorities continue to charge them.

This, he said, was tantamount to fraud.

But Chideme dismissed Zvorwadza’s claims saying some vendors were deliberately choosing not to operate from their designated sites.

The Harare City Council recently embarked on an exercise to relocate streets traders to new vending points amid resistance from the vendors who were demanding that proper facilities be installed at the new sites before their relocation.

Most of the new vending sites have no proper ablution facilities. At the same time, most of the vendors who were displaced from the central business district, are now returning to their old vending points arguing that there is no business at the new vending sites.

The vendors are also demanding that government provides the more than 2 million jobs that President Mugabe promised in his campaign for re-election in 2013.