Bulawayo defies Chombo decree

BULAWAYO - The Bulawayo City Council says it is not going to be pushed to hurriedly implement the controversial directive by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to flush out illegal vendors from the streets.

Chombo courted controversy a month ago when he ordered all local authorities and rural district councils to remove vendors from Central Business Districts (CBD) with immediate effect. He argued that they were compromising health standards.

“All local authorities are therefore required to immediately take necessary measures to remove vendors from undesignated sites to alternative planned vending points,” Chombo ordered.

Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club last week, ward 4 councillor, Silas Chigora (who was representing Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo) said while they held the minister in high esteem, implementing the order was not yet in their plans.

“It is difficult to implement that directive,” Chigora said.

“I am sure we all agreed here on the reasons why people are vending today.”

Chigora said pushing out vendors was not a solution to bringing sanity on the economic situation.

“Twenty years ago, Lobengula Street was not as it is now. Today, it is now congested with vendors most of them who were formally employed but turned to vending as a result of massive closure of companies. The thing is that we need to be on the ground to solve economic issues of the country than go after vendors,” Chigora said.

He said the unemployment levels currently estimated to be hovering above 80 percent made the whole decision of flushing out vendors not only a futile exercise but a cruel one.

“In as far as we want to maintain order in the city, we need to be cognisant of the fact that people are not employed hence they turned to vending. We are not going to flush out vendors. Though we have a mandate to balance the two, people must sell in an orderly fashion for them to fend for their families,” Chigora said.

Asked whether his statement was not tantamount to disobeying the minister, Chigora said: “We are not disobeying the minister, we are saying we have heard your directive minister but can you also look at the causes of this congestion of streets by vendors and the consequences behind such a decision.”

He said as a council, they would continue engaging the minister in a bid to find common ground in dealing with the highly contested vendors’ issue.

Speaking on the same platform, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (Bupta) secretary-general Englestone Sibanda said Chombo must back off.

“This idea of trying to bring Murambatsvina in Bulawayo we say no to it,” Sibanda said.

“Bulawayo as a city can run its own affairs, so why complain on behalf of us when we are not complaining. The problem we are having is that everything was centralised, therefore it is Chombo who runs the show but let it be known that we are saying no to persecution of vendors,” he said.

Bulawayo Residents Association (Bura) chairman, Winos Dube also echoed the same sentiments arguing that the move was “ill-informed and unpalatable”.

Comments (7)

Editor May you kindly advise us why the paper is the last to be online always? Thanks

Moses - 3 March 2015

I totally agree with you Moses. We are always reading "Stay news" . Maybe it's selling strategy but chidofo.

Chigora - 3 March 2015

welcome Byo,i think confrontation or defying some directives from some daydreamers in the name of ministers would be the straight language such hare-brained people understand when people say they are fade -up with them.i support that for as long as it is peaceful

carson macate - 3 March 2015

Honestly Chombo wants to be felt always.How could he try to impose things that are not realistic.If he has all the world in his hands then he should not suggest that all is well to the rest of zimbabwean community.He thinks his looting of assets can help the struggling community in any way.He should leave our Bulawayo alone and let him concentrate in the Gushung kingdom alone.

Abbie Makiwa - 3 March 2015

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