Kwekwe Mayor Up In Arms As JOC Takes Over Council Operations

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By Staff Reporter

KWEKWE mayor Angeline Kasipo has blasted a unilateral decision taken by security forces to ban informal traders from operating at the popular Kwekwe Farmers Market in Mbizo 4.

Speaking during a full council meeting last week, Kwekwe City Council health director, John Bandama confirmed traders who operated at the Mbizo 4 Shopping Centre were ordered to vacate the area and driven to Mbizo 2, 7 and 16 where trade is low.

“As council, we did not choose where to place our vendors. The President’s Office on the 30th of July ordered vendors to move from Mbizo 4 to various locations in Mbizo as a matter of decongesting Mbizo 4 to curb the spread of Covid-19. Vendors were ordered to vacate the area and were moved to Mbizo 2, 7 and 16,” Bandama said.

He said the traders, instead of going to areas designated by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) running the operation, have decided to operate in Mbizo 2.

The city council collects monthly revenue from the traders and the move by JOC will seriously affect the municipality’s coffers.

The situation has been worsened by another decision by JOC to prohibit all informal traders from operating in the city’s central business district where there was also a farmers’ market.

Mayor Kasipo accused JOC of driving traders to selling points without services like water and ablution facilities.

She said this was an act of creating a Covid-19 ticking time bomb “considering that there are no facilities to cater for the vendors.”

“That place is not conducive. It is posing the same challenges which were there at Mbizo 4, and coupled with over-crowding, we are sitting on a Covid-19 time bomb.”

She further said the Covid-19 Kwekwe district taskforce could not make a unilateral decision without consulting her council since the local authority understood the challenges experienced by residents in the city.

Deputy mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa also called on the Kwekwe Covid-19 taskforce to consult the local authority before making any far-reaching decisions.

“Our input as council must be considered. We have people from Amaveni coming to the Farmers Market in Mbizo. They are facing challenges from security forces for unnecessary movement. Such facilities must cater for all places. There must spread. The ratepayers are the ones who give us livelihood. Resources must be distributed equitably,” Tobaiwa said.