via Informal traders finally kicked out of Meikles Park | The Zimbabwean 10 September 2014 by Marcus Tawona
The dust has finally settled at Meikles Park after 600 informal traders were forced to move out to pave way for Zanu (PF) stalwart and businessman Esau Mupfumi to take over the land and pursue his hotel project.
Informal traders, led by Manicaland provincial war veterans deputy commissar Irvan Mbengo, had been adamant that they would not move until the council allocated alternative and suitable space in the central business district.
Mupfumi reportedly acquired Meikles Park with the support of the local government minister Ignatius Chombo. Despite resistance from residents, Mupfumi pressed ahead and renovated toilets at the park and increased daily rates to $1 in a bid to push out the informal traders.
In a letter dated July 22 signed by town clerk Obert Muzawazi and addressed to Mbengo, it appears the council has allocated a new site to informal trade at Customs Street near the Chidzere bar.
Mbengo accused the local authority of taking sides with the rich while suppressing the poor residents.
“The city fathers have not been acting in good faith. We have been complaining about the issue of the land in the central business district but they have continuously shifted the goalposts and allocated prime land to rich people like Mupfumi at the expense of ordinary people. Enough is enough. We fought for the majority not for few individuals,” said Mbengo.