Police threaten vendors’ union leader

via Police threaten vendors’ union leader – The Zimbabwean 23 June 2015

The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) Chairperson, Samuel Wadzanai, today received threats of arrest from Harare police in the event that a march against the eviction of vendors from the Central Business District (CBD) goes ahead tomorrow.

The threats of arrest by the police are despite the fact that on June 16, Officer Commanding Police (Harare Central District), Norbert Saunyama, had written to Navuz saying the march had been cleared.

The Zimbabwean is in possession of the police clearance.

However, Wadzanai today claimed that he had been summoned by the police who told him that they should not g ahead with tomorrow’s march.

“They told me that they had gathered that we were working with political parties and that I had lied to them on the number of people that we were expecting to take part inthe march. I tried to explain to them that this was a purely vendors issue and that we were not working with any political parties but they went on to tell me that they would arrest me if the march goes ahead,” said Wadzanai.

“But it is surprising that the police would inform us that they have cancelled the march verbally when in the first place they wrote to us telling us that the march would go ahead,” he added.

Navuz has, however, vowed to go ahead with the march. “We have a police clearance and from our own side, there is really nothing that can stop us,” said Wadzanai.

The vendors will hand over a petition to Parliament against the June 26 deadline set by government for them to move out of the streets of Harare.

Tomorrow’s march has received support from various civic society organisations under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

CiZC spokesperson, Mfundo Mlilo, said it was unacceptable for the police to thwart peoples’ democratic right to protest peacefully.

“As CiZC, we are saying that the vendors have a democratic right to protest peacefully and we will be joining them in their march. It is their democratic right to express themselves and they should not be hindered,” said Mlilo.

There was outrage when soldiers threatened to take action against Harare vendors who of late have been multiplying in the CBD owing to high unemployment levels currently prevailing in the country.