Itai Muzondo in Gweru
GWERU – Informal traders who previously had steadfastly defied efforts to move them from undesignated selling points – often challenging municipal officials to their face – have eventually caved in following threats from President Robert Mugabe that he will no longer tolerate the disorder on the streets.
The browbeaten vendors began to move out on their own following a notice from Town Clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza warning that stiff measures would be taken against anybody found selling their wares on undesignated sites as from October 22 2017.
A handful of vendors who tried to operate from the same selling points on Monday morning were displaced by riot police.
"Tinozivisa vatengesi vese vemusika vakabva panzvimbo dzavo dzakatarwa kuti vadzokere panzvimbo musi wa 22 October usati wadarika.
"Kubva musi uyu zvichienda mberi, vose vachawanikwa vachitengesera panzvimbo dzisina kutarwa vachasungwa huye zvinhu zvavo zvichatorwa," reads part of the statement.
Shop owners welcomed the withdrawal of illegal vendors from the streets, saying the vendors' trade was harming formal businesses through unfair competition.
Recently, City of Gweru mayor Charles Chikozho had stated that council had given up on vendors but the tide suddenly turned when the national police intervened following Mugabe's condemnation of illegal vending.
Some few weeks ago, vendors who had complied with calls by the city council to relocate to designated sites demonstrated against their counterparts whom they accused of undercutting them by holding onto their illegal selling points in the CBD.
On her recent visit to Gweru, Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri labeled Gweru the dirtiest city in the country.local