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Zimbabwe Victims of Clean-up Exercise Bemoan Loss of Income

Operation Murambatsvina

The Harare City Council says it will continue to clean up the city following the demolition of illegal vendor structures at the Fourth Street bus terminus in the capital Sunday.

Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, though refusing to comment officially Monday told Studio7 that the council will continue its clean-up exercise, adding the local authority is currently reviewing the exercise that has drawn the ire of vendors who charge the authorities have for years been accepting their stall payments of between $5 and $20 a day.

"We will soon announce the next step in this clean-up exercise. We are currently reviewing Sunday's exercise to map up our strategy for the future," said Manyenyeni.

Most of the vendors who spoke with Studio 7 said the clean-up exercise reminded them of the 2005 Operation Murambatsvina or Clean-up Filth, which left thousands of people homeless as the government razed down what it said were illegal structures.

Edward Chanakira, a mobile phone accessories vendor, said he lost his stall which he has used for the past seven years.

The National Vendors Union Zimbabwe, director Samuel Wadzayi, added that his union will take legal action against the Harare City Council and back its members who have lost their source of income.

"Hundreds of our members from Fourth Street who were victims of the demolitions on Sunday, thronged our offices today seeking assistance and we reassured them that we will be engaging our lawyers to oppose the move," said Wadzayi.

He said his union was surprised by the City Council's move Sunday as they had a town hall meeting last Thursday in Harare where different issues were discussed but no mention was made about the demolitions.

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