MASVINGO – Newspaper vendors together with other vendors have been chased out of Masvingo streets by the combined forces of riot and municipal police.
Even those operating at the designated newsstand at Belmont Press were give a one hour notice to vacate the place or face unspecified action.
City of Masvingo Mayor Hubert Fidze said the move was a result of a directive from President Robert Mugabe.
"It is not purely a council affair because there was a directive from the President that vendors have to be moved from the pavements to properly designated sites. That is the order we are following and we hope everything will be done appropriately," said Fidze.
On why even those at Belmont Press had been threatened with eviction, Fidze said he was about to get into a meeting with other leaders like Town Clerk Adolf Gusha to discuss the issue.
"I am about to get into a meeting with others to see how those people have been operating all along. I know the understanding has been that their place has been designated for that," said Fidze.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba condemned the impromptu evictions.
"Those vendors are there for the reasons that we all know. The economy is not performing and the promises of two million jobs did not materialise. We as Murra condemn in the strongest terms council and the government's latest attack on livelihoods," said Mtimba.
In his capacity as first vice president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (Zuj) Mtimba said the eviction of newspaper vendors from their selling points was an attack on access to information.
"It violates the people's constitutional right of access information and it is also an attack on the media institution itself. How will people get the newspapers they want to read?" said Mtimba.
After being given the ultimatum, vendors immediately vacated their favourite points and all the pavements were clear.local