By Mark Mhukayesango
GWERU- Vendors have rejected council’s decision to relocate them to new
vending stalls following their eviction from the city center by
municipal police on Wednesday.
Irate vendors say the new vending stalls situated at Kombayi Market
and Lobengula Street where they are expected to pay $30 per month were
Vendors who normally occupy the space at OK Zimbabwe, Pick N Pay among
other outlets were forcefully evicted by baton wielding municipal
police as Gweru joins other cities in the war against vendors.
The one metre vending stalls have been snubbed by vendors ever since
they were erected a month ago with about 50 vendors out of hundreds
having taken up the space.
Speaking to Radio VOP, Enias Mudzengi, a vegetable vendor vowed to
continue trading in the central business district (CBD) as he could
not afford to pay $30 to rent a vending stall.
“I earn at most $5 per day and it is not even enough to cater for my
basic needs every day not to talk about renting a stall. They should
at least reduce the fee so that the rest of us can afford,” Mudzengi
“They forcefully removed us like criminals, although we have
petitioned the local authority over the fees,” he said.
Mirirai Ngwenya, a 29 year old vendor selling electricity appliances
at OK Supermarket along Main Street said: “There are not enough places
for the thousands of us and so we are left with no option but to trade
illegally because this is our livelihood. We have no other jobs to go
Gweru council has been tolerant with the vendors who had turned the
CBD into a vegetable market, with a health time bomb ticking due to
rotten farm produce.
Speaking to Radio VOP, National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ)
Samuel Wadzai said Gweru City Council needs to engage with the vendors
in order to come up with a lasting solution to this national crisis.
“The GCC needs to radically revise its approach through compliance
with the Constitution and laws of the country; meaningful engagement
with affected communities; revised policies on Vending; and
transparent allocation of space for such entrepreneurial activities,”
Wadzai’s statement comes hard on the heels of the arrest and detention
of Gweru vendors who had staged a demonstration against the municipal
Town Clerk Daniel Matawu said Gweru city council was determined to win
the war against vendors whom he said should go to designated points.
“All vendors should go to designated points allocated to their
businesses by the council. Those who are going to resist the move will
be arrested and their goods shall be destroyed,” he said.
Matawu urged the vendors to regularize their operations by registering
with the local authority and moving to lawful trading centers.
“The exercise to regularize the vendors is taking place at the city
theater offices at town house and those that want to avoid a collision
course with us can go there and get registered,” he said.
Vendors were given an ultimatum to vacate the street last week,
although Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi admitted that the city’s economy was
run by vendors.
The eviction of vendors from the CBD has been expedited by the
Minister of Local Government Savior Kasukuwere who has put the city
fathers under spotlight since assuming his position.
Gweru Residents Association (GURA) chairperson Cornelius Selipiwe
urged vendors to take up the stalls in order to stop the cat and mouse
chases with municipal police.
“I urge all vendors to take up the space provided by council. This is
the only way we can bring back sanity to our beloved city,” Selipiwe