Harare aims to re­gain Sun­shine City sta­tus af­ter clean-up

African Times - - International/Africa - ONAI MLAMBO AND MARCUS MUSHONGA

ZIM­BAB­WEAN cit­i­zens have hailed the re­moval of ven­dors mush­room­ing in the cap­i­tal city Harare, as an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe.

Mu­gabe an­nounced his ad­min­is­tra­tion would em­bark on the cam­paign ow­ing to the di­lap­i­dat­ing sit­u­a­tion in the town that was in past years been hailed as the Sun­shine City for be­ing one of the most or­derly in the African con­ti­nent.

Its (Harare) stan­dards have ex­tremely de­clined with the in­flux of ven­dors.

Un­reg­u­lated vend­ing has partly been blamed for the out­breaks of some dis­eases such as cholera.

Sev­eral peo­ple in­ter­viewed by CAJ News in Harare praised the gov­ern­ment for tak­ing the bold de­ci­sion, say­ing the move would give com­pa­nies due op­por­tu­nity to do busi­ness in an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly space.

Many be­lieve the gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion would lead to the cre­ation of more jobs by for­mal en­trepreneurs than the cur­rent sce­nario where un­reg­is­tered busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als were op­er­at­ing hap­haz­ardly with­out pay­ing tax.

“For the first time since 2008, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe and his gov­ern­ment came up with some prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions that would boost con­fi­dence. I congratulate the gov­ern­ment for tak­ing this step aimed at pro­tect­ing ex­ist­ing busi­nesses from vul­tures only in­ter­ested in mak­ing profit with­out pay­ing tax,” said en­tre­pre­neur Robert-Darikai Muchiner­ipi of Houghton.

He how­ever added, “I hope there is no sin­is­ter mo­tive be­hind re­mov­ing the il­le­gal ven­dors from the CBD.”

Lu­cia-Ts­vakai Chako­roma of High­field said the move to drive out il­le­gal ven­dors from the cen­tral busi­ness district (CBD) came as a sigh of re­lief to the cap­i­tal city, which is also the most pop­u­lous with 1,485 mil­lion peo­ple (2012).

That rep­re­sents a tenth of the South­ern African coun­try’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

“For the first time, we are breath­ing fresh air in the cap­i­tal (Harare),” said Chako­roma.

She said be­fore the re­moval of the ven­dors, Harare had re­sem­bled La­gos, the Nige­ria com­mer­cial city, as the ven­dors were putting their wares in ev­ery avail­able space, in­clud­ing un­des­ig­nated ar­eas.

“I strongly be­lieve san­ity is re­turn­ing to the coun­try. Though I’m aware the move is be­ing mo­ti­vated by elec­tions just by corner, I how­ever give credit to Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe for tak­ing this long over­due po­si­tion to re­store or­der, peace and pride to our cap­i­tal city.”

Chako­roma said the po­si­tion taken in Harare should be im­ple­mented in other pro­vin­cial cap­i­tals to re­store dig­nity.

“I would like to urge the gov­ern­ment to ex­pand the ex­er­cise to other cities to en­sure sur­viv­ing busi­nesses that pay tax are pro­tected from il­le­gal hawk­ers. I bet to the last cent, the is­sue of sanc­tions which the gov­ern­ment al­ways cried foul over would soon dis­ap­pear and see thriv­ing busi­nesses due to im­ple­ment­ing sound poli­cies such as this,” Chako­roma ar­gued.

Nyaradzai Mazhindu of Chi­tung­wiza, said while ven­dors would feel sup­pressed for a short time, he said long term re­sults would ben­e­fit ma­jor­ity cit­i­zens.

“I can sym­pa­thise with ma­jor­ity unem­ployed Zim­bab­weans but in the near fu­ture, we shall see many ben­e­fit­ing out of this move. My prayers are how­ever that this is not in­dented to pro­tect in­ter­ests of the few, par­tic­u­larly cronies’ busi­ness. Oth­er­wise, I laud the move by Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe,” said Mazhindu.

How­ever, some who were pushed out of the CBD ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of chas­ing them out of the fo­cal point where it was eas­ier to do busi­ness with­out so­lu­tions.

Na­tional Ven­dors’ Union of Zim­babwe chair­per­son, Sten Zvor­wadza, has ap­peared in court fac­ing charges of in­sult­ing or un­der­min­ing the au­thor­ity of Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe af­ter he ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to gov­ern­ment plans.

He said Mu­gabe was “day­dream­ing” for or­der­ing the re­moval of ven­dors.

Chen­jerai Muroyiwa of Sun­ning­dale said the gov­ern­ment could have re­lo­cated ven­dors to al­ter­na­tive places with fa­cil­i­ties such as run­ning wa­ter and mall fa­cil­i­ties.

“Chas­ing us out of the CBD was a bit un­fair of both the gov­ern­ment and city of Harare,” Muroyiwa said.

He lamented ven­dors were a re­sult of high un­em­ploy­ment es­ti­mated above 90 per­cent.

“The gov­ern­ment is push­ing its cit­i­zens to the corner. We know very well this de­ci­sion was taken to counter ma­jor­ity vot­ing for op­po­si­tion par­ties,” Muroyiwa ar­gued.

Ishamel Vudz­i­jena of War­ren Park D also said the de­ci­sion would only ben­e­fit those con­nected to the regime while the poor would re­main in trapped in poverty.

“We have been failed by ram­pant cor­rup­tion of our gov­ern­ment.

Yet when we start self-sus­tain­ing busi­nesses, we are be­ing fought left, right and cen­tre. This is dec­la­ra­tion of war against cit­i­zens.”

Shu­vai Mu­darikwa of Mat­api said: “The $15 bil­lion dol­lars that dis­ap­peared with­out any­one ac­count­ing for it could re­sus­ci­tate jobs for the en­tire na­tion, but the greedy gov­ern­ment is busy loot­ing and in­vest­ing in other coun­tries such as South Africa, Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, United Arab Emi­rates while pun­ish­ing the poor for the sins they never com­mit­ted.”

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