Zanu PF evicts vendors, claims space belongs to party loyalists

Informal traders operating along Fifth Avenue in Bulawayo’s city centre were Monday, ordered to vacate their stalls by Zanu PF members who claimed the space belongs to card-carrying party members.

Vendors aligned with Zanu PF coalesced under the Vendors 4ED grouping, control a section of the informal market.

When a CITE news crew visited the scene, it observed that the targeted vendors had removed their wares and were being addressed by the Zanu-PF members. 

The Zanu PF officials, clad in party regalia, claimed the vendors were taking advantage of the party to obtain vending bays but were not attending party meetings or acquiring party cards. 

“We will not tolerate people who just want to benefit from the party without playing their part. You cannot use the party like that. There are many people out there who want these vending spaces. You complained that you wanted vending spaces and we gave you but when there are party meetings you don’t attend, you would be bending here selling your wares,” said a party member who was addressing the vendors. 

“If you want to sell from here, make sure that you have a card. If you don’t have a card go to the MPs office (aspiring Zanu PF Bulawayo Central Member of Parliament Tendai Charuka’s office) and get one. They will assist you there. We want to have a database of the people who occupy these bays. You will be given a card and a bay number. What we don’t want are people who pretend to belong to the party yet they don’t.” 

Some of the affected vendors who spoke to CITE on condition of anonymity explained that they occupied the bays shortly after the lifting of Covid-19 lockdown, but the ruling party came in a few months ago and claimed that the space was theirs and those who wanted to continue selling there should register and get cards. 

“We came here when the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted. Some few months ago Zanu-PF people came and told us that if we wanted to continue selling here, we would have to obtain party cards and become members. Some did and some did not. So, a few days ago, they said that they would come here and chase all those who are not party members, well here they are today,” a vendor said. 

“They said between tomorrow and the day after tomorrow they will be chasing those who operate from Fife Street and Jason Moyo. From the look of things of what they did today, they might actually come back tomorrow. Some vendors here took their wares and locked them away, they have gone to the Mp’s office to acquire the party cards.” 

Another noted that since the coming in of the party members there has been confusion on how they run their operations at the bays. 

“We thought they knew what they were doing but clearly this is just confusion. What we know is that there are specific bays that belong to the city council and there are some that do not. Those are the ones that they are claim are theirs. All along we had been running this on our own, finding our own people to clean up,” said the vendor.   

“All of a sudden, they told us to stop. They said the comrades will clean up. We were paying the people we had sought for ourselves R5 per bay but these Zanu-PF people, after cleaning once a day and are demanding $2 per bay.”

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