SUSPECTED Zanu PF youths on Friday night and Saturday went on a rampage, torching vending tables and secondhand clothes at Mupedzanhamo flea market in what is believed to be a revenge mission against vendors who refused to pay toll fees to them.
Vendors at the flea market said unknown vigilantes set their wares ablaze after second-hand clothes merchandisers refused to pay space “rentals”.
But Mbare ward 4 councillor Martin Matinyaya (Zanu PF) told NewsDay that the pandemonium followed the death of a Zanu PF member suspected to have been murdered by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists.
“We have a serious challenge here. The CCC members attacked one of our members Onisimo Mavhungire, who later died on his way to the hospital. Our guys then went to the flea market intending to catch the seven CCC members, but they ran away. Out of anger, they might have destroyed the tables belonging to the CCC activists,” Matinyanya said.
The conflict between Zanu PF and opposition activists at the popular Mupedzanhamo flea market started a number of years ago when vendors were ordered out of the designated market site.
Space barons took advantage and started forcing vendors to pay “rentals”.
This year alone, there have been several clashes between the space barons and vendors.
Last month, Zanu PF and CCC youths fought running battles over control of the markets currently being run by ruling party activists.
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume deplored the incident and called for harmony at Mupedzanhamo.
“We have always decried the lawlessness at Mupedzanhamo. We need business activity there to be regulated by the council. We need to be clear on space barons. This tragedy needs to be looked at,” Mafume said.
He added that Harare City Council might have to reopen Mupedzanhamo while a new modern facility is being built.
When NewsDay arrived at Mupedzanhamo, scores of vendors had already packed their wares while others were calculating their losses.
Harare police provincial spokesperson Inspector Julius Chakanza said he had not received the report.
“I am yet to get that report. I will send the details to the national spokesperson once I get the details. For now, I do not have the details,” he said.