Source: Scramble for stalls at tobacco floors | The Herald April 2, 2018
INFORMAL traders at tobacco auction floors in Harare are up in arms over double allocation of vending stalls and violence often breaks up, The Herald has learnt. The tobacco selling season started three weeks ago. Traders operating at the Tobacco Sales Floor in the Willowvale industrial area said there was a scramble for stalls, where vendors sell an assortment of wares to farmers.
In an interview, Mrs Cecilia Chiwarura said although she had started selling her wares she was afraid of violence. “This is my second week operating here, but I fear for my life as violence always takes place here over stands,” she said.
Mrs Chiwarura said double allocation of stands was the main cause of violence as traders fight for space. “You see here stands were allocated by unknown people to us way before the tobacco selling season started. However, it is alleged that there was double allocation of the disputed stands, a move which has triggered violence”, she added.
A victim of violence, Mrs Jocelyn Hativake, said she had paid $70 for a stand. “After realising that my stand which I paid $70 for had been occupied by another trader, we exchanged words and my rival stabbed me with a sharp object in the back,” she said.
The victims and perpetrators of violence do not report each other to the police and the abuse goes unpunished. “I could not file a police report against my abuser as I feared losing my vending stall,” she said. Rumour has it that allocation of stands has been closely linked to an aspiring politician eyeing a seat in Highfield constituency.
This was confirmed by Mr Tedious Chingoma, another trader. “You see, my friend, all what is happening revolves around political affiliations. There is a politician who allocated these stalls to us, but I cannot give you his name. He is vying for a seat in Highfield,” claimed Mr Chingoma.