Gweru vendors face eviction

GWERU municipal police and various State security agencies are reportedly mulling a combined blitz to flush out illegal vendors who have virtually invaded all vacant spaces in the central business district.

By Stephen Chadenga

Addressing vendors’ representatives yesterday, Gweru district administrator, Joram Chimedza said the blitz to be carried next week involves members of the joint operations command (JOC) and council.

Chimedza said evictions were necessary as the vendors had become big problems in the Midlands capital.

“We cannot let chaos by illegal vendors continue like this in the city,” he said.

“The eviction is a ministerial taskforce on operation restore order and will include JOC members as well as council police. We expect to effect this operation next week on Monday but we are still to agree on that date as a taskforce.”

Mayor, Charles Chikozho urged vendors to cooperate when the operation is carried out.

He said the central business district was now an eyesore as illegal vendors had mushroomed at every corner in the street.

“When the operation starts let us co-operate as vendors and we don’t expect retaliation,” Chikozho said.

Gweru Hawkers and Vendors’ Association acting chairperson Lovemore Tingaka said vendors would organise a meeting on the way forward following the announcement of the pending operation.

Tingaka, however, said some vendors had deserted their market stalls to operate from illegal sites because council was not acting on those operating at undesignated points.

Last year, illegal vendors resisted municipal police and retaliated by throwing stones and also using catapults and knobkerries.

Members of the uniformed forces were roped in to remove illegal vendors after an order by former President Robert Mugabe in October last year, who accused informal traders of messing up the cities.

The evictions which left some people injured and property damaged were condemned by civil society organisations and human rights activists.

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