Vendors vow to stage march

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Vendors have vowed to go ahead with their peaceful march against government’s decision to remove them from the streets of Harare after the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) yesterday cancelled its earlier clearance for the demonstration set for today.

by Edgar Gweshe

Government has set June 26 as the deadline for the eviction of vendors from the streets of Harare and the informal traders intend to hand over a petition to Parliament against the decision.

On June 16, ZRP Officer Commanding Police (Harare Central District), Superintendent Norbert Saunyama, wrote to the National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) notifying them that they had cleared the march.

“Your march will start from Rezende North Parkade open space J. Nyerere Way/J Moyo using J Moyo into L Takawira right into N Mandela to Parliament of Zimbabwe. Please confine your march to the above-stated route, venue and time outlined. We will monitor,” read part of the police clearance.

However, in a sudden twist, Navuz chairperson Samuel Wadzanai was summoned by the police yesterday and told the march should not go ahead.

“In that meeting, they told me that there were new developments relating to the march and they said the march was not supposed to continue. They said that they had gathered that we are working with political parties and they also said that I lied to them concerning the approximate number of people set to take part in the march,” said Wadzanai.

He said it was surprising that the police would want to cancel the march verbally when they had initially written to
Navuz notifying them that they should go ahead.

“We did not receive any formal correspondence to that effect. It was only verbal and from our side, there is no reason why we should not go ahead with this march. We have a clearance letter from the police and we are going ahead,” said Wadzanai.

He said he had received threats of arrest should the march go ahead.

Today’s march has received support from concerned civic society groups under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC).

CiZC spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo said: “We stand in solidarity with the vendors. We believe that it is their democratic right to express themselves in a peaceful manner and that is why we are saying that as Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we are solidly behind them. It is their right.”