Fierce fight for vending space pitting alleged Zanu PF and the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists in Harare continued yesterday with the ruling party blaming the opposition for a fire which gutted the Glen View Area 8 Home Industries complex in Harare on Sunday.
Glen View Area 8 Zanu PF political commissar Clever Makotore claimed that CCC was behind the fire which destroyed property worth thousands of United States dollars.
“There have been strong suspicions politics could be at play because every time there is a fire we see council coming in trying to evict people and take over. This complex was given to the people by Zanu PF and we know that the CCC doesn’t want our party in here and they will use these excuses to push us out,” Makotore said.
Complex chairperson Claudius Mtongwizo also blamed the opposition for the chaos at the complex.
“As you know the council is run by the opposition but this complex by Zanu PF, so the opposition wants excuses to take over this complex. If they want to fix anything they can do it while we are there, they do it in phases otherwise we are not going anywhere. This complex belongs to us and the party (Zanu PF),” Mtongwizo said.
But CCC local councillor Denford Ngadziore denied claims that the opposition was behind the arson.
“These are the space barons who are resisting council to put in fire hydrants and other necessary essentials for their benefit and safe operating environment. Despite their protests, there is no going back on the council’s plans to ensure there is sanity,” Ngadziore said.
Council spokesperson Innocent Ruwende also said there was no politics at play.
“There is no politics at all. They need to vacate so that we can do proper planning for the place. There is a need for road access and hydrants just to name a few, as it is right now, fire brigade can’t even access the area,” Ruwende said.
Meanwhile, police yesterday said they had arrested 20 suspects in connection with the turf wars involving Zanu PF and CCC supporters fighting for control of the Mupedzanhamo vending stalls in Mbare.
The skirmishes reached tipping point on Monday when Zanu PF member Onismo Mavhingire was fatally attacked in running battles with opposition supporters.
“Police confirm the arrest of 20 suspects in connection with violent skirmishes which occurred on October 10 2022 at Mupedzanhamo market stalls,” national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in a statement.
He said the value of the property destroyed in the clashes was yet to be established.
Vendors at Mupedzanhamo said they were having sleepless nights over the skirmishes which started on Friday last week.
“We don’t know when these fights are going to end. Zanu PF supporters are responsible for all this. They are fighting for control. Police sometimes throw teargas inside our flats while we are sleeping, all in the name of maintaining order. It’s no longer peaceful here,” said a vendor who sells second-hand clothes.