Vendors threaten havoc over ban

HARARE - Vendors have threatened to cause mayhem if the Harare City Council (HCC) goes ahead with plans to forcibly remove them from the streets.

In a bid to curb a typhoid outbreak — which has so far claimed two lives — council has banned the sale of cooked and uncooked food while it has also given vendors a 48-hour ultimatum, which lapsed last Thursday, to vacate the streets.

However, National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairperson Sten Zvorwadza vowed that his fellows will not leave the streets.

“We are not going to move out of the streets. We have nothing to do. Attempt to remove us from the streets will trigger civil unrest and we are prepared to defend ourselves,” he said.

“As vendors, we demand an end to this madness, failure to do so we are going to use all means possible as long as they are within the confines of the law,” Zvorwadza said.

He added that vendors’ welfare must first be addressed before municipal police starts harassing them.

On the other hand, the Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) said HCC must look into addressing the real typhoid drivers — including poor refuse collection — instead of concentrating on vendors.

“The situation in Harare is compounded by the fact that over the years, residents have endured erratic water supplies while refuse collection is generally poor,” the Association said.

“As a result of the erratic water supplies in Harare, most residents have resorted to using water from unprotected sources and this exposes them to diseases such as cholera and typhoid,” it said.

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation director Samuel Wadzai added that they will not be cowed by government.

“Apart from the court interdict which we will be filing, we will definitely go into the streets in protest of what they are imposing on us.

“We are also going to petition the Parliament of Zimbabwe on the matter,” he said.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme, however, told the Daily News that council will not be backing down on the removal of vendors.

He said the logistics process has been finalised and the municipal police and Zimbabwe Republic Police will be deployed soon.

“Vendors are definitely going this time. They need to start operating from the designated sites that were allocated to them by council in 2015,” Chideme said.

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