outrage over Demolition of Peoples’ Markets in Harare: It’s a Government Directive

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The informal markets in Harare

The Harare City Council is under MDC elected councilors and they distanced themselves from the operation that saw the demolution of informal markets in Mbare and Machipisa in Harare over the weekend. The Harare Mayor Councilor Hebert Gomba said, “We have not and will not make a decision to fight our people particularly the vending community, consultation and assessment is key because it helps us to get the facts and lay blame where it should be, however tomorrow (Monday) we will open up new spaces to accommodate our vendors”.

The directive was in a letter from the Local Government permanent secretary of 8 April 2020 clearly states that the bulldozing of the informal market traders is a directive from the Cabinet, and not a council decision.

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MDC member of parliament Honorable Tipiwa Mashakada denounced the directive on his face book page, “As a people’s representative I hereby urge the Minister of Local Government to stop forthwith the destruction of markets during this lockdown period. It is cruel and inhuman. The City of Harare has distanced itself from this barbaric exercise so the buck now stops with the Minister of Local Government and his team. Why do leaders act politically in order to a portion blame to others eventually? Obvious this is a desperate attempt to blame the Harare City Council. Please let us not add more suffering to our people. “

Most people where not in agreement with the action taken by council questioning the motive of the directive. Why start by demolishing? Why not start by building and allocating the standard markets as per the directive? Did the government consider that the majority of Zimbabweans are self employed and are vendors? Does government understand how most people are going through during this lockdown period and that they find it necessary to destroy their only means of livelihood?

Others see the demolition of the informal markets as necessary arguing that if vendors were to come back from lockdown to that old setup it would not be healthy situation. The government is said to be constructing standard markets in designated places that have been identified in all cities. They argue the current informal markets were not conducive for social distancing.

City of HARARE COUNCILORS’ Response to public inquiries about the demolition
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