Vendors, forex dealers, challenge Mugabe

HARARE - Disgruntled vendors, touts and foreign currency dealers in Harare yesterday gave President Robert Mugabe a two-week ultimatum to stop the police from harassing and confiscating their wares.

About a fortnight ago, Mugabe ordered authorities to flush out vendors and other informal traders that have stormed the Harare CBD, arguing the capital had become filthy and chaotic.

“When I arrived from South Africa, I heard that Harare is now dirty with vendors now everywhere, even streets which were given names such as (Julius) Nyerere and Robert Mugabe are now covered with dirt. Some vendors are selling their wares during the night so that they cannot be arrested,” the 93-year-old leader said.

However, the defiant informal traders — who have been in running battles with police since Mugabe’s decree — held a meeting yesterday, which riot police failed to block, with the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe leader Sten Zvorwadza saying they resolved to demand clarification from Mugabe on who is sending the police to harass them and confiscate their wares.

“We want to give Mugabe only two weeks to clarify whether he gave the police directive to harass and confiscate our goods illegally.

We heard him saying vendors must be moved out of the town and our question is, did he also give directive to the police to beat us. If he fails to do so in two weeks we will rate him accordingly and we will also know that we are being led by an evil government.

“To the police we are saying ‘starting from today if they use batons to beat us we are going to take those batons and hand them over to (police Commissioner-General Augustine) Chihuri.

“Mugabe doesn’t have the capacity to remove vendors, we know that he has the capacity to beat and kill us but he can’t chase us from the streets — it’s a matter of our survival. Even if they come with bombs and guns they will not remove us from the streets,” he said.

Despite the heavy police presence at the Africa Unity Square venue, the vendors, forex dealers and touts were not deterred, as they came in numbers to attend the meeting.

“We are not a security threat. They tried to block us from holding this meeting but people showed that they are not scared of them. We invited the two vice presidents (Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko) but they didn’t come and that shows our leaders don’t care about our plight,” Zvorwadza said.

“We want to be united as the informal sector. Mugabe’s powers came from the people and if we unite he will listen to us.”

“The arrest of forex dealers is illegal and for touts they are expected to pay a little fine after their arrest and not to be brutalised like animals.

“The government is not serious about protecting the informal sector. They fail to understand that we are the most important sector in this economy.”

Meanwhile, the vendors and money changers have since started trickling back into the city centre, despite being declared persona non grata.

Comments (2)

I think Zvorwadza & co are only lying to themselves;Mugabe is clear-is the one sending the police to beat them;why beating abt the bush;if they want to classify him leader of an evil gvt;they shld b already & must now only try to foil his re-election bid, as punishmement for this misdemeanor.Must go abt dressing him down-de-campaigning him in even rural areas.Kana vakazvikoniwa vanenge vadyiwa nema votes.Destroy his re-election effort in order to punish him

addmore gudo - 1 November 2017

people are jobless all this was caused by you Robert Mugabe you failed in your responsibility as a leader you chased farmers you killed them you implement a stupid policy with your less political gun man called war vets companies closed you and you family and generals stole zim wealth you sold th e country to chinese i never know zim has educated fools like zanupf leaders IAN smith was better he never oppress his own people Mugabe let me educate you and zanu a country is not build by race or greed or guns or oppressing people but by knowledge and wisdom wake up BOB even mrs mugabe is only getting into politics to protect the loot zimbabwean will urinate and curse your grave for bring them poverty and not freedom zimbos dont eat independence they need a vibrant economic system run by both black and white as one wake up bob wake up army generals must stay in barracks and protect zimbos not intimidate pple are you not ashamed look at your country wake up bob the ROBERT OF THE 90s what happened to you give call back the farmers and companies apologise tell them to build zim as one look wake up zanupf dont you see the children of zim has cried enough GOD IS ABOUT to do what he did to Pharaoh soon zanupf will be hated by many they only support you cause they fear you can kill them but all see your failure wake up bob we are no longer in 1980 did you all zanu sell your soul to the devil even satan is amazed at how you oppress people

makako - 2 November 2017

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