THE country’s security chiefs yesterday ordered street vendors operating at undesignated sites in all urban areas to vacate by Monday next week or face unspecified action.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and commander of the Presidential Guard Brigadier-General Anselem Sanyatwe told journalists in Harare the security forces would come hard on those resisting the order.
Sanyatwe said the security forces had decided to intervene and restore order in urban areas, especially Harare, after vendors had invaded all open spaces in the city centre.
“We are happy you brought the chefs from vendor organisations. I want to warn you, we don’t want to chase each other. We have the powers. Go and address your people and tell them to go to designated places,” Sanyatwe said.
Harare Provincial Affairs minister Miriam Chikukwa, who chairs the Joint Operations Command (JOC) in Harare, repeated the warning to vendors.
“As JOC chairperson, I reiterate if anyone is seen on the other side of the law, you will have yourself to blame,” she said.
JOC is a grouping of security forces including the army, Central Intelligence Organisation and police.
Chombo said the deadline applied to all vendors in other urban areas throughout the country.
The meeting was attended by several mayors, town clerks, chairpersons and officials from different cities and towns across the country.
Vendors have invaded open spaces in Harare leading to serious overcrowding on pavements and disruption of traffic.
Some vendors argue they were given the go-ahead to invade urban areas by First Lady Grace Mugabe.