HomeLocal NewsMasvingo clears vendors ahead of Mugabe visit

Masvingo clears vendors ahead of Mugabe visit

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Masvingo City Council has revived its blitz on vendors ahead of President Robert Mugabe’s visit tomorrow ostensibly to give a semblance of order in the country’s first urban settlement.

By Tatenda Chitagu

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

Mugabe is set to officiate at the groundbreaking ceremony of the dualisation project of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway tomorrow morning at Chaka business centre, before proceeding to commission the completed Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in the afternoon.

Early this week, Masvingo was in a vicious drive to remove vendors at most street corners, with trucks impounding hawkers’ wares in bloody clashes that left one council marshal injured after his index finger was bitten by an irate vendor.

Other vendors could be seen resisting arrest by lying in front of council trucks, threatening suicide and risking being run over by the trucks.

However, Masvingo mayor Hubert Fidze said it was just a routine drive to clear the streets, insisting vendors should go to designated areas.

“We routinely carry out such exercises as we have more than enough space for vendors, like the Chitima Market and other sites,” he said.

“Recently, we opened a Saturday and Sunday market place for vendors at the council offices, where they can come and display their wares without any hindrance.”

He also said shop owners and other licensed vendors were complaining about losing revenue to vendors not registered by council.

This, however, is not the first time that when Mugabe flies down to Masvingo, the city is spruced up.

Last year, when the 93-year-old leader came for the party’s congress held at Masvingo Showgrounds, some major roads were marked, patched up and resurfaced, while the long-forgotten Masvingo Airport finally received a major face-lift courtesy of the visit.

However, motorists had shortlived joy as the markings faded away barely three months after the congress, as roads officials allegedly used whitewash, a temporary paint.

Residents had mixed feelings over the development, with some saying Zanu PF officials should let Mugabe get the true picture on the ground, while others welcomed the sprucing-up of the infrastructure and clearing of vendors.

“He (Mugabe) is out of touch with reality because his hangers-on misinform him to give a picture that everything is okay when the opposite is true. Let him see that almost everyone is now a vendor,” a Masvingo resident said on condition of anonymity.

Another resident said as the chief executive of the country, Mugabe did not need to be embarrassed by the sight of vendors almost everywhere who were selling everything, from underwear, second-hand clothes, pesticides, to African herbs.

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