100 vendors injured in scuffles with cops

MORE than 100 vendors have been injured by the police in central Harare, with some being hospitalised following a directive last month by the government to evict informal traders selling food in the central business district (CBD), Vendors Initiative for Socio-economic Transformation (Viset), has said.

Source: 100 vendors injured in scuffles with cops – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 11, 2017


The government last month formed a ministerial taskforce on controlling the further eruption and spread of typhoid and issued an ultimatum to vendors selling foodstuffs in the streets countrywide to cease their operations.
Harare vendors were blamed for the outbreak and spread of typhoid.

However, vendors refused to move and obtained a High Court order, which interdicts the government from evicting them. As a result, the informal traders say they are being brutalised by the police, who are forcefully evicting them.

Samuel Wadzai, who leads Viset, said more than 100 of their members had sustained serious injuries as a result of alleged police brutality.

 “As I speak, we have 109 vendors nursing wounds they sustained from police brutality for selling their wares in the CBD, some of whom are still detained in hospital, something that should not happen to poor people, who are on the streets not by choice, but because of the economy,” he told a stakeholders meeting, which was attended by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) in Harare this week.

“It is our appeal to the ZHRC that they assist us by ordering the police to stop harassing people, who are trying to make ends meet through vending because we are not thieves, but mere desperate, unfortunate victims of the depressed economy,” he said.

Zimbabwe Republic Police officers, in conjunction with the Harare municipal police, harass and arrest vendors often resulting in scuffles and punch-ups.

Last year, the ZHRC published a damning report detailing the harassment of vendors by armed police officers.