BY MOSES MATENGA
HARARE’s oldest and most populous suburb, Mbare, has been overrun by vendors, a situation that has seen council battling to take control of the area’s haphazard market stalls.
A survey by NewsDay around the politically-volatile suburb showed that traders have taken over every available space around Mupedzanhamo and Shawasha flats, where they are selling second-hand clothes and fruits, among other wares.
The traders have also effectively taken over the parking lot at the council-owned Rufaro Stadium, where they are selling mainly agriculture produce.
Some of the vendors told NewsDay that they were left with no option, but to use every available space in the area for business, accusing council of not providing adequate space in a country where citizens have been turned into informal traders due to the high unemployment rate.
But council spokesperson Michael Chideme yesterday said the local authority was in the process of building new sites to accommodate vendors in and around Harare and once done, the “invaders” would be accommodated there.
“We are in the process of constructing markets and one such project is near Coca-Cola depot in Graniteside and there is a project at the Shawasha area that we are working on with our partners, where we will accommodate all those vendors,” he said.
Mbare became a political hotspot during the days of a Zanu PF militant group, Chipangano, which terrorised residents until its reign was halted when the new government took power via a military coup in November 2017.
Apparently, some of the vendors are said to be aligned to either the ruling Zanu PF party or the main opposition MDC, whose leaders are battling to control the open spaces.
Space barons are said to be milking the local authority of thousands of dollars in potential revenue.