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Bulawayo Council Police, ZRP Arrest Illegal Vendors

The Bulawayo City Council continued its crackdown on vendors Tuesday. (Photo: Taurai Shava)
The Bulawayo City Council continued its crackdown on vendors Tuesday. (Photo: Taurai Shava)

The Bulawayo City Council continued its crackdown on illegal vendors for the second day running Tuesday as the local authority attempts to get rid of them.

Municipal police raided illegal vendors at various places around the city. At the popular market place along Fifth Avenue, the municipal police, accompanied by some members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, swooped on vegetable vendors as well as those who sell second-hand clothes, grabbing the wares and bundling them into council trucks that were on standby.

The other popular vending place along Herbert Chitepo Street was also raided.

Some of the vendors, who spoke to Studio 7, criticised the raids saying council should not remove them from the streets without offering them alternative trading places.

Fifty-six year old granny, Nhanhiso Matamira, who was shedding tears, said she was pained by the confiscation of her goods, adding that she struggles to look after several grandchildren left behind by her deceased children.

Another vendor, Grace Masvosva, who said she got injured in a scuffle with the council police as they tried to grab her goods, also criticised the police saying they have no authority to take people’s goods without the permission of the courts.

Lucia Useni said she and her colleagues are ready and willing to abide by the law but noted that council has been slow in allocating them legal vending stalls.

Studio 7 was not able to hear from the police or council on the issue.

But in a recent interview, Bulawayo Mayor, Martin Moyo, said his council is at an advanced stage in registering and identifying appropriate vending points for the informal traders.

Moyo said over 2,000 vendors have so far registered with council, adding that the council does not believe in fighting the vendors as it understands the prevailing economic problems that are affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.

The local government ministry gave a directive to all councils in cities and towns across the country to remove illegal vendors from the streets and some councils like Harare and Masvingo have already complied.

But observers, while agreeing on the need to clean-up the country's cities, say the government should take immediate action to address the country's economic problems that have driven many to vending.