Home Affairs deputy minister Mike Madiro yesterday said government was unapologetic about the manner in which law enforcement agents were dealing with vendors and commuter omnibus drivers resisting the order to move out of the Harare central business district (CBD), which has resulted in daily running battles.
BY KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA/BLESSED MHLANGA
He was responding to a question in the Senate by Mashonaland East senator Jane Chifamba, who asked him to explain government policy on dealing with vendors and commuter omnibus drivers operating in the CBD.
“The situation has caused problems for so many people and it has created chaos in the CBD to the extent that I was also a victim of that chaos. Are you not, as a ministry, fixing a problem using methods that cause more problems?” Chifamba asked.
Madiro defended the police, saying they we doing their job, adding that vendors should not take the law into their hands, but must abide by the law to avoid clashes with the police.
“It is common cause that police are there to promote peace and stability in the nation. There are authorised places at which people who want to sell their goods can sell their goods without being chased away,” he said.
“The Constitution gives authority to the police to take such action. Police are not going to stop, but we are urging people to go to places that are designated and sell their goods. Vendors should follow the law and not take the law into their hands.”
Some residents say police were going overboard, smashing vehicles they suspect of illegally ferrying commuters without regard to innocent bystanders.
Cosmore Mashayamombe had windows and windscreen of his Toyota Fun Cargo smashed by baton-wielding police officers along Fifth Street and George Silundika Avenue as he drove a relative to a preschool graduation ceremony.
“They blocked me in the front and jumped on my vehicle, smashing glasses and injuring my cousin in the process. I tried to plead with them to stop, but they could have none of it. I know that anyone who commits a crime should be arrested and their crime heard in court, but this wanton cruelty and illegal destruction of property shocked me,” he said.
Mashayamombe said the particular officers were moving around in a Harare City Council vehicle with registration number AAE7846. He reported the matter to the police and a docket was opened under case RB100295.
Attempts to get comment from police were futile, with spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba saying she was locked up in a meeting.