Council Seeks Help From Army To Remove Zanu-Pf Vendors on The Streets

Following fruitless attempts to evict Zanu PF supporters who had unlawfully turned one of the city’s streets into a vegetable market, THE Bulawayo City Council has sought the Joint Operation Command (JOC), a coalition of State security agencies led by the army.

The central business district’s 5th Street has been allegedly taken over by Zanu PF youngsters, with the backing of their leaders, who have unlawfully rented out vending spaces to merchants.

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As the city’s “Big Spring Cleaning Week” got underway on Monday, Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni acknowledged to reporters that the situation was now out of their control.

“They (vendors) were settled here by politicians from the ruling party (Zanu PF) and we have tried to engage both the party and state security apparatus to try and remove them from this road.

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“This is a gazetted public road and it was closed to vending,” said Mguni.

The mayor said the local has decentralised all vending markets in the city as per the government‘s policy, but noted vendors were not willing to relocate to the new designated sites.

He added: “We have to enforce, but now it requires the collective efforts of all government agencies such as Environmental Management Authority (EMA), health authorities, state  security apparatus as well as our own security so as to ensure that we reopen 5th Street to the public. So it is a question of enforcement which has gone beyond the local authority’s control”.

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The local authority has held numerous meetings with JOC and the vendors leaders but a solution is yet to come.

“We have held various meetings with JOC and the vendors leaders so as to find an amicable solution.

“The engagements are continuing and ultimately it is the JOC which should ensure that these people are removed,”  he said.

The government was recently forced to call a crisis meeting following extortion complaints raised against identified Zanu PF officials, who are  taking bribes from the displaced informal traders.

The mafia-like operations of the ‘vending space barons’ are prejudicing the local authority of millions of potential revenue.

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Source New Zimbabwe

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