Zanu PF activists take over Bulawayo vending spaces

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By Bulawayo Correspondent 

ZANU PF activists in Bulawayo have allegedly taken over streets in the central business district where they are illegally renting out vending bays to displaced vendors.

The government was last week forced to call a crisis meeting with stakeholders following numerous complaints against Zanu PF officials extorting informal traders.

Prior to the meeting, Bulawayo City Council had tried to engage the ruling party but to no avail.

Minutes seen by show the meeting was convened by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube and Bulawayo city council Town Clerk Christopher Dube.

Other attendees include vendor representative organisations, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zanu PF, Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and city council officials.

“During the meeting different stakeholders managed to air their views about the 5th street market which was closed due to COVID-19. It was noted with concern that the site was closed yet illegal vendors decided to work from there without any payment to the city council.

“Licensed vendors who had been displaced no longer have place to do business because of these new and overnight vendors and claiming to be from political party Zanu PF,” reads part of the minutes.

During the meeting which was held in council chambers, it was also noted that the market was now a health hazard as there are no ablution facilities.

The meeting also recommended urgent removal of the illegal vendors at the site.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) executive director Michael Ndiweni said “we took part in an all stakeholders meeting held last week at Council Chambers. It is unacceptable, we don’t condone any political party to extort informal traders.”

He added: “Imagine if all political parties wantonly occupy each and every street in the city. Even potential investors would not want to be in a city that has the potential to groom mafias, cartels, anarchy, chaos and render our lovely city ungovernable.”