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FEATURE: Joy and jubilation as popular Mbare Flea market Mupedzanhamo reopens

Normal service has resumed at the popular Mupedzanhamo Market in Mbare, the City of Harare has announced.

The market has been reopened to residents today and it was a hive of activity as the city plays its role in empowering the majority to run their small businesses.

Vendors who spoke to this publication expressed pleasure, saying the closure had ruined their businesses and way of living.

“The reopening was long overdue, the closure forced us to operate in the open space outside Rufaro Stadium.

“The place is not good for business, as it lacked proper trading infrastructure,” said one vendor only identified as Jimmy.

Another vendor, Muchineripi Kaduro shared the same sentiments adding that the reopening is an New Year’s present for him.

The City’s Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) head, Dr Colleen Tongoona gave an update, saying the local authority is pleased with the reopening.

The Mupedzanhamo market has been closed for almost three years and its reopening was initially set for December 20, 2022 but was not to be.

In a statement at the time, Harare City Council SMEs Committee Chairperson, Denford Ngadziore, confirmed the postponement of the scheduled reopening adding that that the allocation process of space was to be done first.

“The re-opening of the Mupedzanhamo Mbare market which was scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday 20th December 2022 has been postponed to a day to be advised later this week.

“This is to allow the convening of the SMEs Committee meeting tomorrow Tuesday 20 December 2022 at 9 AM.

“The allocation process and procedures will be announced tomorrow 20th December 2022 and will be duly communicated to all the stakeholders.

“Any inconveniences caused by this delay are regretted,” he said then.

Secretary of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Tafadzwa Muguti, said that the flea market would be opening again before Christmas that same year, it was not to be.

According to the City of Harare, Mupedzanhamo accommodates 1 800 traders, who had been forced to trade their wares outside Rufaro Stadium and in the open ground adjacent Mbare Flats.

This however did not go down well with law enforcement agencies, who ended up engaged in running battles with vendors, with the police accused of using undue force.

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) Director Samuel Wadzai described the action of the Police as barbaric.

“We condemn this in the strongest terms, police are being barbaric and violating the Constitution, we are engaging our lawyers on the best way to respond to this.

“It is sad that politicians are taking advantage of the desperation of vendors to come and wage their wars in the space of vendors. This is condemnable and we are going to respond to this,” Wadzai said.

ZANU PF affiliate Vendors 4ED expressed concern over the failed reopening at the time, with its chairperson Samora Chisvo saying the reopening was long overdue.

“The City of Harare keeps postponing its reopening under the guise of ongoing renovations,” Chisvo said.

“This is forcing our members to operate from undesignated places. A number of our traders who are operating outside the Mupedzanhamo market are paying US$5 in bribes to council officials and space barons to operate.”

Mupedzanhamo was closed at the height of COVID-19 more than 3 years ago.

Over the years, activists from both the opposition and the ruling party ZANU PF have clashed over vending spaces at Mupedzanhamo flea market.

Zwnews

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