Government bans vendors in major cities as cholera outbreak escalates


In response to the ongoing cholera outbreak, the government has implemented a ban on vendors operating in the central business districts (CBDs) of major cities.

The move is part of a comprehensive effort to contain the spread of the waterborne disease, according to Information Minister Jenfan Muswere.

Speaking during a post-Cabinet briefing, Muswere explained the measures being taken to address the outbreak. Alongside removing vendors from the streets and destruction of gardens using raw sewage, steps include the provision of clean water, the availability of mobile toilets in city centers, and the activation of the Civil Protection Act to combat cholera.

“Government directs vendors be removed from the streets, gardens using raw sewer be destroyed, clean water be availed, mobile toilets be availed in city centre, Civil Protection Act be activated to fight cholera,” Muswere said.

The decision to ban vendors has generated mixed reactions among informal traders, as many rely on vending as their primary source of income. Concerns have been raised about the economic impact of the ban. Some vendors argue that cholera cases have also increased in areas without vendors, suggesting that the focus should not solely be on them.

Samuel Wadzai, the director of Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation, called on members to comply with the government’s directive. While acknowledging the danger of the situation, he emphasized the need for a holistic approach to addressing the cholera challenge by educating everyone.

To aid in waste management, the Treasury has released US$700,000 to clear dumpsites in Harare. The move aims to improve sanitation and reduce the risk of waterborne diseases.

The country has recorded over 7,000 cholera cases and at least 142 deaths. The government’s efforts to combat the outbreak include not only the ban on vendors but also bulk safe water trucking to affected areas, health education campaigns, and the reopening of public toilets.

As the situation unfolds, it remains essential for all stakeholders to work together to contain the spread of cholera, protect public health, and mitigate the economic impact on affected individuals and communities.

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