The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) is concerned by the displacement of vendors and other traders from their designated trading spots at Mbare Musika as part of Harare City Council’s efforts to clean up the place in the fight against Typhoid.
Youths affiliated to the ruling party, Zanu PF, operating at Mbare Msika have taken advantage of the exercise and are now claiming open spaces to use as car parks. They are also allegedly victimising vendors and traders on grounds of political affiliation. These acts of terror have left many transport operators and vendors deprived of their livelihoods as they are either being denied entry into the bus terminus or being asked to relocate their businesses to Machipisa in Highfield.
Up to around midday today vendors were being displaced at Mbare under the guise of a cleanup. As part of the clean up exercise, each trader is also asked to pay a fee of $10 allegedly by the Harare Municipality workers, this is said to be used to fund the clean up exercise. Those who fail to pay have had their shops closed for business. However, when contacted for comment, municipality officials denied collecting money from vendors.
This has resulted in violent clashes today involving bus operators and some youths who have claimed an open space at the terminus.
These networks of patronage where youths affiliated to one political party are allowed unfettered access to public infrastructure and then afforded immunity when they violate rights and deny economic opportunities to other citizens on political grounds cannot be left unchecked.
As ZPP we recognise the need to have a clean environment to prevent disease but authorities must be mindful that our constitution affords every citizen freedom of trade, especially in this time of extreme unemployment. While the harassment of vendors at legally designated Mbare Musika goes unabated, High Court Judge Justice David Mangota issued a judgement today barring the Harare City Council and Zimbabwe Republic Police from removing vendors from the CBD pending determination of a court application filed by Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation(VISET), a group that fronts interests of vendors.
ZPP is a Non Governmental Organisation that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.