Zim soldiers, riot police force vendors off the streets

HARARE – Zimbabwean authorities have reportedly issued a banning order against vendors across the capital, Harare, following a deadly cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 30 lives in recent weeks.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, at least two cabinet ministers issued the banning orders on Monday.

“As way of improving the general sanitation in the city [of Harare] it has become imperative that all types of vending be banned with immediate effect,” newly appointed local government minister July Moyo was quoted as saying.

Moyo urged all vendors across the capital to heed the government orders, as authorities faced a rapidly spreading cholera outbreak.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni reiterated the local government minister’s calls.

Speaking during a meeting with representatives of vendors’ organisation in Harare, Nyoni said her ministry would work in collaboration with other government ministries to create conducive areas of trade in the capital city.

Nyoni’s remarks came at the back of continued running battle between law enforcement agents with vendors who were refusing to leave their stalls.

NewsDay reported that security forces were out in full force in several other cities in the southern African country to stop street trading as the government responded to the cholera outbreak.

Riot police and soldiers took the vendors by surprise over the weekend in Masvingo town and Zaka and forced them off the streets, said the report.

“We were beaten and told not to return. Some lost their wares and others got injured in the process,” a vendor from Zaka Growth Point has reportedly told NewsDay.

An AFP report said, the cholera outbreak, first detected in a township outside the capital Harare earlier this month, prompted the government to declare an emergency in the city after at least 3 000 cases were reported.