A senior Government official has urged Mutare City Council to clear all illegal vendors on the streets and open spaces in the CBD even if they claim to be Zanu PF members as the situation is now getting out of hand.
Speaking at the official commissioning ceremony of MCC US$3m plant equipment, Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Advocate Misheck Mugadza said space barons who were abusing the party name by selling illegal vending sites, that their days were numbered.
This was after the City Council had appealed to the Minister to intervene and stop space barons abusing Zanu PF party.
“I have witnessed that the issue of space barons in town is slowly getting out of hand. We have too many illegal vendors selling their wares at undesignated sites.
“I urge the Council to take action on them and where you meet those abusing the name of our party (Zanu PF) you should let us know, there are sacred cows because we want to keep the city clean and fight the spread of diseases,” said Mugadza.
Speaking at the same occasion, City of Mutare Mayor, Simon Chabuka begged the Mugadza to intervene on the issue of space barons which he said were giving the local authority torrid time as they would hide behind Zanu PF every time they are asked to cease the illegal activities.
“Minister we are having a difficult time with space barons who claim to have authority from the ruling party and are behaving as the law themselves.
“They are causing untold problems in the city as they allocate vending space to anyone who as long as they claim membership of the ruling party.
“The perception from our stakeholders and the ordinary person is that, it is the City Fathers and The Town Clerk who are engaged in these illegal activities, hence our appeal to you to help us weed out these bad elements in our midst before the situation gets out of hand,” said Chabuka.
Acting Mutare Town Clerk, Blessing Chafesuka also said one of their major problems was dilapidated infrastructure which can no longer cope with the number of informal traders who have increased exponentially
“We have social amenities that have been neglected for a long time. We have infrastructure that is no longer coping with the demands of informal sector.
“This sector has grown beyond our capacity, but this is an area where people shun the working spaces provided by Council and opt to sell their wares in front of shops, disadvantaging those who are paying shop licences,” added Chafesuka.
Space barons are charging a dollar a day to those who want to sell their wares at strategic positions where there is more business.
Zanu Pf Manicaland provincial administrator, Andrew Humure who was present at the commissioning ceremony refuted the claims and threw back the blame at the City Council.
Humure said Council should construct vending stalls near bus termini where there is a lot of human traffic for them to get customers for their wares.
“Council should also take the blame. These people labelled as illegal vendors are trying to make ends meet, in an illegal way, according to the definition used by Council. I think those who are in the streets are following where money is.
“No vendor can wait for six months for the local authority to complete constructing vending stalls while not trading.
“Council need to come up with temporary measures and as a party we do not encourage our supporters to invade streets, but as you designate commuter omnibus ranks just remember that there are vendors also need to do business from commuters boarding these kombis and buses,” he said.