Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba, has called for the peaceful relocation of informal traders from the Central Business District (CBD) to designated sites so as to foster peaceful co-existence.
The mayor made the call on Friday as members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) continue to engage in cat and mouse scuffles with vendors in an effort to move them
out of the CBD.
The police have been reportedly firing teargas to suspected fleeing vendors while members of the public continue being caught in the crossfire.
Gomba said: “While responding to stakeholder concerns over the moving of vendors from the CBD to designated areas, the HCC (Harare City Council) is encouraging peaceful engagement during this period,” said Gomba.
The mayor also said the local authority is the only institution with the mandate to allocate vending spaces to informal traders.
There are reports of space barons who are charging vendors for vending stalls yet the council has its own charges.
He said: “Vendors are hereby advised that only the city of Harare is the allocating authority and space has been created at Coventry Road Holding Bay and Seke Road Bay. Registration with council for this exercise is being done to ensure orderly movement of the same.”
The mayor also highlighted that more sites are being made available in some neighbourhoods, with makeshift tents being purchased and erected with the help of city officials as the only authorised allocating authority being available to assist.
He called on vendors to desist from vandalising property and engaging in violence as the exercise is being carried out in an effort to restore the sunshine status of the city.
“There is absolutely no need to vandalise public and private property during the relocation exercise.
“Names and images of people vandalising property in the CBD have been captured and registered with law enforcement agents, he said. “The city encourages peaceful engagement and cooperation as we thrive to achieve world class city status.”
Chairperson of the informal sector committee Antony Shingadeya echoed the mayor’s sentiments, saying the peaceful movement of informal traders from the CBD will foster unity and engender peaceful coexistence.
Shingadeya said there are over 200 trading sites spread across Harare, the newest being Coventry Bus Rank and at Corner Seke and Dieppe Road (Coke Corner).
He said: “Registration for space has already begun with over 5 000 people having registered so far. Depending on demand, more spaces would be availed and … the private sector to avail space for the informal sector.”