The Harare City Council on Wednesday started relocating street vendors to new sites following some resistance yesterday from the informal traders who vowed to continue selling their wares in the central business district.
Council spokesperson, Michael Chideme, told Studio 7 that the local authority has officially started relocating informal traders to vending points that were established following a government directive for the council to clean up the city.
Following the council’s move, some vendors whose stalls were destroyed by baton-wielding municipal police, said that they were not happy with the new vending sites which they say are not yet ready for use.
One of the affected traders, Martin Zivira, vowed to continue selling his wares in the central business district.
The situation turned nasty when some vendors, who used to sell their wares just outside the council headquarters, were told by their municipal police to relocate to a vegetable market at Copa Cabana bus terminus where other vendors who operate from there refused to pave way for the group that had been authorized by the council officials to occupy the market stalls.
The programs coordinator of the Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organization, Promise Mkwananzi, condemned the council’s move to forcibly relocate the vendors to places that have no adequate facilities.
But Chideme said authorities were moving with speed to address those issues.
Peter Jack, chief executive of the of the Unemployed Mobile
Youth Foundation, another organization that represents the interests of street traders, told Studio 7 that the council’s move to relocate the vendors was not supported by a council resolution and therefore it is illegal.
Mkwananzi noted that his organization is contemplating taking the matter to the courts in an attempt to stop the evictions.
Keith Charumbira, chairperson of the Nehanda Vendors Association, encouraged government and municipal authorities to engage all vendors Representative organizations in dialogue.
Studio 7 failed to reach Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, who told the state broadcaster last night that city fathers should move with speed to remove vendors from the streets or risk losing their jobs.
Meanwhile, the MDC T party condemned the move by the government to force councils to evict vendors from the city streets, especially in Harare, where the municipal police, assisted with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, forcibly removed vendors from the central business district.
Spokesman Obert Gutu told Studio 7 they do not blame the MDC T-run councils for implementing this directive, but the Zanu PF-led government for failing to provide the two million jobs it promised in the run up to the 2013 general elections.