Vendors clothing bales burnt in early morning raid
by Brown Moyo Harare Bureau
HARARE Municipal police who are engaged in a vicious war with vendors this morning invaded the footbridge at Speke Avenue and Julius Nyerere road and burnt hundreds of wares worth thousands of dollars as the vendors eviction turns nasty.
Sources said vendors at the footbridge used to keep their wares which include shoes, bales of clothes, blankets and assortment of various electronic equipment.
“We were shocked this morning to hear that the municipal police invaded the footbridge around 0400 hours this morning and set alight stocks of goods,” said one vendor who refused to be identified for security reasons.
“A bale of clothes ranges between US$300 to $500 and there were more than 100 bales owned by different people,” the source said.
“What the council is not aware of is that what it is doing is tantamount to human rights abuse and they can be taken to court for that,” the source said.
Scores of people were arrested in Harare on Thursday as street vendors resisted eviction from illegal trading sites in a crackdown being spearheaded by the Harare Municipality.
Municipal police destroyed market stalls and allegedly looted some vendors’ wares as the local authority’s eviction of Illegal Street traders entered its second day.
Although Zanu PF secured power on the back of promises to revive the economy through a populist theme “Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment”, there is very little on the ground to show for it so far.
In its election manifesto, Zanu PF promised to create 2 265 million jobs in the next five years as part of an economic growth initiative based on the empowerment and indigenisation drive.
However since Zanu PF controversially won the disputed polls the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions estimate that more than 6 000 people have been retrenched and they form the bulk of the vendors as they try to eke out a living.
Hopes of a quick economic turnaround under the new Zanu PF government appear to be fading even faster as more and more companies close shop, throwing tens of thousands of workers onto the streets to join the teeming ranks of the unemployed estimated at above 88%.
Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organisation (ZISO) director Promise Mkwananzi said vendors will continue to show the council their resilience.
“We will return and reconstruct our structures and continue with our trade until government avails jobs and other opportunities,” Mkwananzi said.
“We continue to urge Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to appraise himself with the goings on at the ministry. At the present moment he is making impulsive uninformed decisions with detrimental consequences to an amicable solution to the issue of vendors and far reaching consequences for the economic wellbeing of the affected families.