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Eastlea Harare

Mbare Violence Must Stop!

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) is increasingly concerned by the reports of violence and arson attacks in the Mupedzanhamo area.

The disturbances, which began on October 7 2022, have not only left a trail of destruction through loss of wares by traders, but most disturbingly, has reportedly left 3 people dead. This is most unfortunate and requires a full investigation in order to bring the culprits to book.

The facts as has been relayed to us by our membership in the area, are that there are clashes allegedly linking youths and activists from 2 political parties, who are aligned to rival space barons fighting for control of the daily trading fees paid out by informal traders, who’s number is estimated at over 1800 and who each pay US$2-US$5 per head. These space barons have taken advantage of cooperation of corrupt City Council officials to ensure that market spaces are kept closed so that traders operate from open spaces and pay money to them instead of to the City Council. It is important to note that traders receive no benefit from these trading fees as there are no amenities at these open spaces nor cleaning services.

Roads have reportedly been barricaded, with clashes now affecting residents of nearby flats, where teargas has been used to quell disturbances, but has unfortunately affected women, children and the elderly. There should be no reason why this area should resemble a war zone and law enforcement must be deployed to deal with all offending parties in a non partisan manner if sanity is to be restored.

VISET urges City of Harare to urgently begin the process of allocating trading spaces at Mupedzanhamo, through a transparent process that brings on board informal sector organisations to ensure that direct beneficiaries are selected and announced so as to do away with the scourge of space barons that has led to the regrettable events of the last few days.

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