Court bars army from driving off vendors

HARARE - A High Court judge has barred members of the security services, including the Zimbabwe National Army, from driving away thousands of vendors from the streets.

High Court judge Felistas Chatukuta gave the order by consent yesterday after the Zimbabwe Informal Sector’s Organisation (Ziso) had filed an urgent chamber application seeking to bar the army from moving vendors.

In the application, the organisation had cited Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni as respondents.

Ziso was represented by Chris Mhike, while Joseph Mumbengegwi appeared for Chombo and Sekeramayi. Manyenyeni was represented by Charles Kwaramba.

The matter was resolved by consent and the parties agreed that it was inappropriate for vendors to be driven off the streets using military force.

It was also agreed that post-June 8, due process would be followed.

The government admitted that whatever steps that were going to be taken to clean up the streets, the military would not be deployed.

In the future, vendors will be given notice and appropriate agencies used in driving them off the streets.

The judge was also clear that she was interested in protecting legally-recognised vendors.

Only those vendors that are legitimate would get protection from the courts and law, it was agreed.

The decision to drive the vendors off the streets through the use of the army was agreed last week at a meeting that was attended by State minister for Harare Province, Miriam Chikukwa, mayors from various cities, Manyenyeni, Joint Operations Command (Joc)’s Brigadier-General Anselem Sanyatwe, according to Ziso.

During the meeting, vendors were given a seven-day ultimatum to leave the streets or face the army.

The meeting also resolved that the vendors would be driven off the streets by yesterday, a decision that was later shelved until June 26.

Comments (1)

Daily News, this is a wrong interpretation of the judgment. Your headline suggests that the vendors will not be removed. The judge gave a green light for all those illegally vending in cities from across the country to be removed. One other thing is that you need to acquaint yourselves with how JOCs operate. It was never said that the army was going to be deployed. Sanyatwe only spoke on behalf of the provincial JOC maybe because the police were not there. JOC deploys the police and if the police is overwhelmed, riot police would be deployed. Again if the whole police machinery fails, support from the military would be sought. This is a world-wide practice. South Africa did this during the xenophobic attacks. The United States did this recently in Ferguson. So please, dont misconstrue the presence of Sanyatwe at that meeting to mean the army was going to be used to remove vendors. Had the police failed? The answer is no.

Muza Sibanda - 10 June 2015

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