The Harare City Council has outlawed food vending in Zimbabwe’s capital following an outbreak of typhoid which has left at least two people dead.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Acting Town Clerk, Josephine Ncube, said circumstances on the ground have forced the local authority to take drastic measures to contain the spread of the disease.
“Preliminary investigations have shown that the key drivers of typhoid and any other water borne diseases are issues related to personal hygiene, unregulated vending of foodstuffs such as vegetables, meat, fish (cooked and uncooked) and inadequate water supplies.
“There are issues that we can immediately control/regulate to ensure that we contain the spread of typhoid. One of these is street vending. We are therefore issuing a 48 hour ultimatum to all food vendors operating within the Harare Metropolitan area to temporarily cease operations forthwith. The ban will be reviewed depending on improvements on the ground.”
She added that the ban also covers general vending at illegal sites.
“Pushcarts used in the Central Business District will be impounded during the exercise. Impounded fruits, meat, maize, fish and vegetables will be destroyed. This action is being taken with the interests of the majority at heart.
“We are invoking the Public Health Act for the public good. We are aware of the fierce backlash that we will receive from the vending public but our actions are in the public interest. From today we will carry out publicity campaigns to educate the public on the action we are taking and encourage the vending public to go to designated sites.”
Officials say that so far, 126 cases of typhoid have been confirmed in Harare since the start of the rainy season in Zimbabwe about two months ago. There are more than 1,000 other suspected cases nationwide.