A POTENTIALLY explosive fight is looming in Harare today as thousands of vendors yesterday vowed to resist a government directive to relocate to “dusty” sites.
Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi insisted that all was set for the relocation to the different sites despite indications the areas were not conducive as they have no proper facilities including stalls and toilets.
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Zimbabwe Informal Traders Organisation (Ziso) official Promise Mkhwananzi said it would be business as usual and vendors were ready to defend their “workstations”.
“It’s business as usual because government has not provided any alternative, so we have no choice, but to stay in the streets,” he said.
“We call for government to come up with a lasting solution. Whatever government will try to do, we will respond as it comes.”
National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe director Samuel Wadzai said hawkers would not be intimidated by threats from government to use force to remove them from the central business district (CBD).
“We are very clear we will not allow vendors to go anywhere because I don’t remember government giving an alternative,” Wadzai said.
“There is no clarity and we don’t know of the new sites. Those mentioned do not accommodate the number of vendors in town.
“They are oversubscribed and cash barons are waiting. Government has to deal with those critical issues first.”
Registration was on at the Tsiga open space in Mbare, City Sports Centre, Fourth Street and Coventry Holding Bay, but the turnout was pathetic.
Of concern to some of the vendors was the dirt and dust at the open sites, which had no facilities.
One of the vendors, Lorcadia Muchando, claimed all the sites were clandestinely allocated.
“We were told to come here, but what I suspect is that the stalls are full already,” Muchando complained. “We were told there are no places in town, but we wonder how that is possible as we saw no one from council to register us.”
Mahachi said council would engage law enforcement agents to ensure order.
“Go to corner Samora Machel Avenue and Chinhoyi Street, you will see vendors vacating to that place,” he said.
“It will accommodate more than 1 000 vendors with container booths.
“We are not concerned about those who say there is not enough space because we are working to ensure there is something. Space we will provide.”
Government gave vendors up to today to move out of the CBD.
On Wednesday, thousands of vendors marched to Parliament Building in Harare where they presented a petition calling on government to abandon plans to move them from the city centres.