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» » » Mutare residents divided over Beit Hall flea market

 City of Mutare offices
Felix Matasva

MUTARE- City Council's plans to set up a flea market near the Sakubva Beit Hall has left residents and ratepayers divided on whether the local authority should shelve its plans and find another suitable place or continue with the project. 

Some of the residents in the Eastern border town told TellZim News that the city fathers were offside on their plan to turn an open space which was being used as a recreational facility into a flea market. 

An 82-year-old Tracy Munjaranji said the city fathers should put recreational equipment rather than going for the market.

“I do not think it is a good idea for council to turn this facility from a recreational space to a flea market. This space used to have swings and it. These are were places where youths used be taught about our cultural values hence they must continue to serve their purpose in these times of great moral decadence," said Munjaranji. 

Hellen Marange who runs Busy Bee Nursery School near the Beit Hall also said the high activity and noise which are usually associated with market places will affect kids at her school. 

“Council must find a suitable place for a flea market so that sanity prevails within young kids' learning environment. The behavior and noise usually associated with flea markets does not click well with a learning environment. When they are operating, vendors shout all sorts of things which have negative implications on our kids if they hear such language,” said Marange.

Another Sakubva resident, Sungano Mureveri expressed disappointment over the local authority's decision to establish a flea market saying Busy Bee kids will be at great risk of ritual killers.

“I am strongly against the idea of setting up a flea market near youth and recreational facilities. There is a high possibility that some of Busy Bee kids may go missing since the issue of suspected ritual killings is on the rise. Kids are gullible by nature and I am afraid that this market will attracts ritualists,” said Mureveri.

However, some residents welcomed council’s plan saying the development will reduce poverty in the area since informal trading is now a source of living for many families. 

Pamela Nyarukuwa said that establishment of the market will be an added advantage to many informal traders who are in need of market stalls to sell their goods.  

“I sell clothes and I’m in full support of the establishment of a flea market at Beit Hall. This as a business opportunity which we can’t afford to lose. The library is not that busy because people borrow books and go home. The youth centre is not usually busy because and has been turned into a meeting place to coordinate illicit activities by the same," said Nyarukuwa. 

Gloria Makahwi a social worker who resides in Old Chisamba of Sakubva surburb agreed with Nyarukuwa’s sentiments saying the market will offer a business opportunity to women in the area. 

“It’s a great opportunity for women in this neighborhood to venture into some startups that will help us to feed our families. Of course, in Sakubva thieves are always a menace but that cannot deter us from hustling for our families,” said Makahwi. 

Mutare Informal Traders Association (MITA) president, Itai Kariparire said residents should accept the project and stop fighting developmental projects.

“Manica Youths Assembly (MAYA) who are some of the people opposing this development are enemies of progress because they want to stall progress at implementation stage. They should have lodged their complaints during consultation meetings which were done by council.

“When top government officials came here for Urban renewal project launch, the late Minister Ellen Gwaradzimba was tasked to look for a place to accommodate informal traders since the one behind Sakubva Stadium had been earmarked for Urban Renewal. 

“Some places were identified and we toured all those places with Mutare Housing department, Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) Edgars Seenza, provincial engineers and other stakeholders. After the tour, it was then resolved that a temporary market be established at Beit Hall," said Kariparire.

He said 1000 families who are reeling from Covid-19 lockdown restrictions need to start earning a living after being frozen out for a long time, adding that they were going to put up their own structures at Beit Hall since council said it was incapacitated.

MAYA director, Jussah Kudherezera however said Kariparire's claims that council had consulted everyone prior to its decision to establish a flea market at Beit Hall were false and residents were never consulted. 

“Muchena residents were not consulted but they will be affected in terms of noise, lack of toilets at the flea market and litter. Council never consulted all stakeholders except MITA hence Kariparire is singing for his supper.

“Some critical stakeholders and residents of the area were snubbed during consultations yet they are the ones who will be affected by this development,” said Kudherezera.

Efforts to get a comment from Mutare City spokesperson Spren Mutiwi were fruitless since he didn’t respond to questions send to him up until the time of going to print.

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