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Vendors clash over stalls

Different vendor organisations are spoiling for a fight over impending eviction from their stalls in the streets of Harare. So tense has bec...

Different vendor organisations are spoiling for a fight over impending eviction from their stalls in the streets of Harare. So tense has become the matter that it has taken a political turn with Zanu PF-affiliated vendor organisations vowing to relocate their members to designated sites while accusing their rivals of trying to protect their political interests.

Chairman of the previously unknown Grassroots Empowerment Flea Markets and Vendors’ Trust Association, Alexio Mudzengerere teamed up with a Zanu PF official, Onismo Gore, and his organisation to push for the immediate eviction of vendors from the city centre to designated sites, and threatened to engage law enforcers to deal with those who would dare resist.
Vendors clash over stalls
However, National Vendors’ Union Zimbabwe board member Sten Zvorwadza said his members would resist the move even with their souls as those pushing for the relocation were furthering “their corruption at the expense of the poor”.

Zvorwadza’s organisation is being accused of having links with the MDC-T as he wanted to stand as the party’s candidate for Mbare in 2013.

“The town must be clean and people must be free to trade and make their transactions,” Gore said.
“We spoke to our people and they are in agreement to go on designated sites. Most of our people have moved to different sites.

“We want order in town. We attained independence 35 years ago, therefore, our pavements should be liberated. Shop owners should be liberated from those who sell wares. Those who pay rates to council should be free to operate. We now have 12 sites and we have a total of 6 000 affiliated to organisations.”

On resistance by other vendor organisations, Gore said: “There are political parties influencing them and it’s no longer about traders, they are politicians.”

Mudzengerere said vendors affiliated to his organisation had already started moving to designated sites and started painting toilets on their different sites.

“We have around 3 000 members in the central business district (CBD) and 24 000 in the whole city,” he said.
“Those who are resisting, it’s not our job to deal with them. We have spoken nicely to our members. We see the move as a good stance.

“We don’t want disorder in the city. Vendors should just move to designated places.”
Zvorwadza told NewsDay that they would defend their turf even with their “oxygen”.
“They are lying about those designated places,” he said.

“They have told us since last year that they are 13 of them, but they are oversubscribed and what will happen to others.

“There are no jobs and to drag someone from Market Square and replace that person with one from CBD is not the solution. It’s a grouping diverting attention of the common interest to have decongestion in the cities and towns. We are trying to earn an honest living and if you come, you take my oxygen, it is better you kill me. It’s as good as taking oxygen from a person on oxygen support.” News Day.