Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister, Mandi Chimene, says vendors won’t be removed soon from the streets of the regional capital, Mutare, contrary to an order issued by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo for them to leave this Sunday or face the wrath of the law.
Chimene says vendors, estimated to be more than 2,000 in the city, who flooded the streets following the scaling down and closure of companies like Mutare Board and Paper Mills, Karina, Cairns Foods, Quest Motoring and several others, will only be removed when proper vending sites have been set aside for them.
She says they will not remove them from the streets at least for now.
Chimene adds that Chombo’s directive will be enforced if they find a place for vendors. She says they have been trying to identify sites for relocating most of them.
Some business executives say vendors are wreaking havoc outside their shops where they sell various wares, which are at times found in their stores.
Local businessman, Rekai Chinguno, who is a member of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, says the vendors should be removed as soon as possible because they are decimating their businesses.
But most of the vendors like Clyde Mumbure have vowed to stay put even if the government has threatened to use the police and army to remove them from the streets.
Another vendor, Cleopaus Maundike, says President Robert Mugabe should intervene as vendors are engaged in such activities in order to make a decent living following the non-performance of the local economy.
Edward Mundirwira of Chikanga suburb, who sells second hand shoes, argues that the ruling Zanu PF party should, infact, provide the 2 million jobs it promised in the run-up to the 2013 general elections instead of spending a lot of time removing them from the streets.
Ernest Chauke of Mutare city’s Fairbridge Park suburb says they should only be removed from the streets if the government finds alternative vending sites for them.
As Zimbabweans express mixed feelings over the handling of vendors in Zimbabwe, it still remains to be seen whether the country’s feared security forces will descend on those selling various goods on the streets, starting this coming Sunday