Cops, vendors clash in central business district

HARARE - Police yesterday clashed with vendors in Harare’s central business district, stopping a peaceful and worthwhile clean-up campaign the vendors had organised.

Several police trucks loaded with anti-riot police descended on the estimated 2 000 vendors who had gathered in central Harare and dispersed them.

The National Vendors Union of  Zimbabwe said government was displaying double standards by their lack of will power to interact with vendors as partners.

“This is glaring hypocrisy. They want to tax the vendors and we are saying let’s organise vendors and create a database on who is where, doing what, but this behaviour suggests that they want to promote a situation where they are just looting from them,” Samuel Wadzai, the union’s national director said at the scene of the clashes.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) made public their intentions to collect tax from vendors who have filled all street pavements in Harare.

Vending has been the only option for Zimbabweans, as the country suffers scourging unemployment. 

“We, on Tuesday, applied to conduct the clean-up and they (police) did not respond but we met them today in the morning around 9am and they okayed our exercise and then after 30 minutes, they came to disperse vendors who had started gathering for the clean-up,” 

“The clean-up was a follow up to meetings that we held with Town House officials, and they had raised allegations that vendors were contributing to the dirt around the city, and that they did not take care of their working environment,” Wadzai said.

He said the union was going to continue engaging the city and the state, to find a solution to the cat and mouse games that had become a common feature of the relationship between municipal officers and vendors.

“They did not even give us reasons why there were dispersing us. We are not going to succumb to this unnecessary disruption; they should stop these chases if they want progress. We are going to continue to engage them in a peaceful manner despite this provocation,” Wadzai said.

“We had also invited the mayor (Bernard Manyenyeni), minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo and trade unionist Lucia Matibenga, among other people. Everything had been done above board and we do not understand their move to try and intimidate us,” he said.

Comments (1)

Don't these vendors know that the only "legal"mass gatherings and demonstrations are those organized by the Party for theParty? Mucha svika paguziva kuti vamwe hava tauriki navo kwete.

Abri - 3 August 2014

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