By Wisdom Mumera
Local Government Ministry and City of Harare have appealed to the country’s uniformed forces, police and shop owners to combine forces in a fresh bid to remove vendors from the streets.
Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) is awash with vendors selling various wares that range from vegetables to clothing among others from street pavements while others have resorted to sell from their car boots.
Vendors are a resulted of the current economic hardships bedeviling the country since the turn of the millennium which saw various people losing their jobs or being retrenched as companies tried to rationalize their costs.
The situation was made worse following the High Court judgment in case between Zuva Petroleum and its managers which paved the way for companies to retrench workers on three months’ notice.
Most of the affected workers have turned to vending in a bid to feed their families and be able to pay their rentals among other basic.
However, in a joint statement the Local Government Ministry and City of Harare said vendors were tarnishing the city’s image and hampering efforts to attain world city status by 2025.
“We have noted with dismay that the situation in our CBD has become unmanageable in as far as vending and traffic management is concerned.
“The Central Business District is now home to a litany of unhealthy vending activities such as selling of second hand clothes, unregulated vegetable vending, roasting mealie cobs and money changers amongst other activities.
“Such activities are anathema and anachronistic of CBD areas of modern cities especially capital cities,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, the two authorities have also accused the public transport system of exacerbating the menace and chaos which has literary turned the CBD into a hazardous jungle.
“Illegal ranks and unregistered public transport such as mushika-shika have become rampant posing great danger to both motorists and pedestrians.
“In view of this untenable situation let us all declare war on illegal vendors and unregulated public transporters.
“We are calling the uniformed forces to come and assist the local authorities in bringing sanity in our CBDs,” said the joint statement.
This is not the first time that government and the city council have tried to remove vendors, they tried a few years ago but they were stopped by a High Court order granted to the National Association of Vendors Union of Zimbabwe.
Although city council has tried to offer alternative vending sites, vendors have contested arguing that the sites are unsuitable for their businesses as they are located far from their target market.