via Zanu PF group terrorises traders – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 14, 2015 by Obey Manayiti
A NEW Zanu PF terroratgroup has reportedly emerged in Mbare Musika in Harare where its members are demanding protection fees from vendors and evicting those who resist their demands.
Some of the victims interviewed by NewsDay yesterday said the ruling party terror group was demanding cash ranging from $1 to $2 from each trader using the market place, including farmers.
This comes at a time when government has threatened to crack down on space barons demanding money from vendors or those parcelling out residential stands without authority.
“Sometimes the leaders might not come in person. They will send their teams to us demanding different amounts of cash ranging from $1 to $2,” one of the victims said.
“If you fail to pay, then you will see a lot of people coming to harass you. They openly say that we are operating in their area and, therefore, we are supposed to pay them money they say protection fees.
“When I came here, I tried to refuse, but they threatened to destroy the food I had prepared as well as my cooking utensils. We end up paying to avoid being chased away or having our wares confiscated.”
The most affected areas include Mupedzanhamo, Siyaso Complex and Helping Hand, among others.
“This is very bad indeed. Everyone is struggling and I don’t know why they are doing this to us. This is money going directly into their pockets and not to infrastructure development to improve the areas where we work from,” one of the affected vendors who also refused to be named said.
The victims said they had lost confidence in both municipality police and the Zimbabwe Republic Police who seem to have failed to deal with the matter for a long time.
Some vendors said the group operated in the same manner as the infamous Chipangano.
Harare police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Simon Chazovachii urged the victims to report the matter to police.
“No one has come to us to report that one. They should approach police because this is extortion, but at the moment, we don’t have such a report,” he said.
Harare Zanu PF youth leader Edson Takataka yesterday denied the existence of the alleged terror group.
“This is all coming from (expelled Zanu PF provincial youth leader) Jim Kunaka,” he said.
“That is how he used to operate and he wants to tarnish others. At Helping Hand, it is our youths who operate from there, so who will they be paying protection fees to and for what reason?”