An illegal vendor learns the hard way: Never try to impersonate a soldier to escape arrest


An illegal street vendor from Mbare was arrested in the Harare Central Business District last week after pretending to be a soldier in an attempt to avoid arrest. Tapfumaneyi Enock (33) appeared in court on June 8 charged with impersonation.

According to court documents, police officer Cairo Pindirire and other officers were arresting illegal vendors along Nelson Mandela Avenue and Chinhoyi Street on June 6 around 12:30 pm when they came across Enock selling phone chargers and accessories. When Pindirire arrested him for vending illegally, Enock claimed he was a member of the Zimbabwe National Army.

When asked to produce his army identification card, Enock failed to do so. He then tried to flee the scene but was apprehended along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.

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In court, Enock pleaded not guilty to the impersonation charge. He was granted $30,000 bail and will next appear in court on July 17. The prosecutor said Enock’s attempt to impersonate a soldier was an effort to avoid arrest for illegal vending in the CBD.

The case has highlighted the ongoing problem of illegal street vendors operating in the capital, often claiming special status in an attempt to continue vending without permits. Police operations to remove illegal vendors from the streets are a regular occurrence.

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