Provide shelter for farmers at Musika

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Dear Editor
I would like to express my great concern in your widely read paper over the current problems farmers are facing at Mbare Musika since early 2002.
Before being thrust into the current misery, farmers used to occupy a complex between a council bar popularly known as Rambanai and Harare Bottle Store along a road that leads to Rufaro Stadium. The conditions there were good and fees charged were affordable. This complex protected farmers from bad weather and notorious thieves, both of which are very prevalent in Mbare. But following the repossession of this complex early in 2002 by the owners, farmers have been seriously exposed to torrid conditions like heavy rainfall, chilly winters and numerous thieves. I wonder if the council has not observed this worrisome situation where people can sleep the whole night in open spaces covered with plastic sheets and getting into clean blankets with shoes to protect them from being stolen while sleeping. Currently farmers are using some of the shops’ verandas around Mbare Msika. The shops charge them $1 per night and as if that is not enough, the farmers are usually forced to buy sadza, poorly cooked innearby households that surround the market. This situation has raised many questions among some of them – I also question where exactly the money is going because the municipality compels them to fork out about $10 per individual to get a space in the market per day.
The market and these verandas are always seen flooded with people on daily basis, meaning that some hundreds of US dollars flow into the council’s coffers. It would be good if the council was meeting people’s needs.
Now that we are not aware of how all our monies are used, as one of the farmers really affected, I’m demanding an explanation. Please, City Fathers, do not take us for granted.
We need clarification on these matters before the worse comes to the worst.

Gilbert Manduwa
Marondera