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The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) is concerned that despite a High Court order by Justice David Mangota barring the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Harare City Council (HCC) police from confiscating wares of vendors and removing them from the Harare Central Business District, the crackdown continued yesterday evening.

At around 6pm yesterday police were confiscating fruits, vegetables, carts and other furniture items at an open space near Cleveland House in clear contempt of a court order that had been given on Friday and delivered on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile an official from HCC said they cannot comment on a court order they have not seen while the ZRP said they could not give comments over the phone.

According to the lawyers representing Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), the court order was delivered to HCC officials and the Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri. Despite this, police and council municipal police are still raiding vendors in the city center in contempt of the court order.

The ZPP condemns this wanton disregard of court orders and the resultant violation of human rights by law enforcement agents. Citizens have a right to trade and not to be arbitrarily deprived of their property. The actions by the ZRP and municipal police amount to harassment and border on criminality. Citizens have a right to security and when the organs that are mandated to provide security become the aggressors and violators of human rights, citizens do not have anywhere to run.

The ZPP urges police and council to investigate the incident and bring to book its officers who participated in this unlawful raid. We further urge the executive to act on security officers who disregard the law. The country cannot slide back into the days of lawlessness and arbitrary violations and disregard of citizens’ rights by the security apparatus.

Police have a tendency of using force and when they use it to deprive defenceless citizens of their property the state has a duty to intervene. The ZPP also urges regional and international bodies to take the Zimbabwean government to task over these continued acts of impunity by the police.

Click on the link to view a video of police raiding vendors

Alert: ZRP and city council in contempt of court

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