Lovemore Lubinda

The usual busy streets clogged by vendors selling all sorts of merchandise in Harare, are markedly empty.

This follows an onslaught by a crack team of municipal and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). The city undertook the two day blitz to contain the spread of waterborne disease outbreaks in the city.

Vendors, mainly vegetable and food were recently identified by the city and an inter-ministerial task force as the chief drivers of the vector causing typhoid.

Subsequently, council imposed a ban on selling of vegetables, fruits and food by vendors from un-designated areas. The ban also follows an outbreak of typhoid and the death of two people in Mbare.

Food, such as fruits, meat, maize, fish and vegetables was confiscated and destroyed at the Harare Municipal Police Headquarters during the two day raid.

Illegal vendors trading in other wares were not spared as Council also pounced on them.

The recent raids seem to contain the problem of street vending that had become rampant in the Central Business District and other parts of the city.

The problem of vending has been an emotive one in a country that has high job losses and unemployment.

Municipal police officers roped in members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and raided undesignated vending sites in the city.

City of Harare spokesperson, Michael Chideme said the operation would continue until there is normalcy in the city.

“We have started the exercise of removing vendors from the streets. We started with the CBD today

According to statistics by the, Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), the informal sector contributes 40 per cent to the nation’s (GDP), but it is lacking government support to set proper structures and conducive working environments.

It says against the backdrop of the anachronistic unemployment levels and a myriad of economic challenges, vending has become a natural alternative for the majority of Zimbabweans.