SCORES of National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) members yesterday staged a demonstration at Town House in Harare protesting against continued confiscation of their wares and alleged extortion by municipal police officers.
by Own Correspondent
The protesters marched to Town House chanting songs denouncing corruption by rogue municipal police officers.
Vendors and municipal police have been playing cat-and-mouse games in the city centre since a government directive last year for informal traders to vacate the CBD and move to designated sites.
The directive has, however, been met with resistance by the vendors, who argue that the designated sites are located far from their markets and lack proper infrastructure such as ablution facilities.
Navuz chairperson, Stan Zvorwadza told the protesters at Town House that his union was concerned at Harare City Council’s failure to take action against corrupt municipal police officers despite numerous complaints being forwarded to the local authority.
“We are concerned that our members are being victimised on a daily basis by corrupt municipal cops. We would like to challenge the mayor and acting town clerk to take action because corruption has become so endemic at Harare Municipality.
“It is of great concern to us that municipal cops are going above the law to violate the rights of vendors and in some cases, we have female vendors being sexually abused. So we are saying that officials at Harare City Council must take action or we shall continue demonstrating to register our concerns,” he said.
The vendors submitted a petition to the acting mayor, Councillor Wilton Njanjazi, who said he would discuss the issue with his superiors so action is taken to address the vendors’ concerns.
As part of their grievances, the vendors demanded that council take necessary measures to ensure that harassment and extortion of the struggling vendors be stopped forthwith.
The vendors also demanded council investigate cases of harassment and extortion and that the local authority should embrace an all-stakeholders approach to the issue of vending.
“We further demand that council investigates authorities at Town House working in cahoots with corrupt municipal cops to extort money and confiscate goods from desperate vendors in the CBD. Raids on vendors have actually turned out to be a cash cow for rogue municipal cops and their superiors,” read part of the petition.
Zvorwadza threatened that should council fail to take action to address the vendors’ concerns, they would mobilise for more protests.