via Cabinet ordered war against illegal vendors – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 2, 2015 by Moses Matenga
CABINET last month directed local authorities to remove all vendors in the city centre and demolish all illegal structures in the countr’s cities and rural areas, in what observers said could be a repeat of Operation Murambatsvina.
According to a government circular dated June 2 and signed by Local Government secretary George Mlilo, Cabinet made the decision to launch another clean-up campaign after noting the rapid increase in illegal vending, and sprouting of illegal urban and rural settlements.
“It has been noted that of late, many local authorities were not fulfilling their mandates in the areas of informal trading regulation and housing development,” part of Mlilo’s circular read.
“Cabinet has expressed concern over these issues and has directed interventions to resolve the current chaos prevailing.”
The circular described the mushrooming of vendors as “invasion” of central business areas by unregistered vendors which was “unacceptable” as it affected formal businesses and outlook of cities and towns.
“Provincial administrators are to coordinate and monitor this exercise,” Mlilo added.
“The matter should be discussed with the Joc (Joint Operations Command) to ensure co-operation and backstopping of national enforcement agencies with municipal police to achieve the desired result.”
Coincidentally, a day before the circular was dispatched to various local authorities, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo addressed a Press conference in Harare where he gave street vendors a seven-day ultimatum to vacate the central business district.
Chombo was flanked by Joc members who included commander of the Presidential Guard Brigadier-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe and Harare Provincial Affairs minister Miriam Chikukwa.
However, the government extended the deadline after vendors threatened to resist any attempts to use the army to push them out of the streets.
The vendors have vowed to remain on the streets demanding the Zanu PF government should provide the jobs it promised in its 2013 election manifesto.
In 2005, Operation Murambatsvina destroyed the livelihoods of an estimated 700 000 people.