Suspected Zanu PF youths, Tuesday, cordoned off a portion of Fifth Avenue in Bulawayo city centre claiming they had taken over the vending bays resulting in a clash with illegal foreign currency dealers who operate in the area.
The area popularly known as ‘World Bank’ due to the illegal foreign currency dealings that used to take place there, used to be a flea market before the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) shut down the market as part of measures to decongest the CBD in light of lockdown restrictions to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The local authority later opened the street to vehicular traffic.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to CITE said the youths who claimed to belong to the ruling party cordoned off the area, blocking the smooth flow of traffic and started demarcating the area into vending bays.
Their action courted the ire of the illegal money changers who now operate along the pavements resulting in an altercation.
Municipal police who tried to stop the marauding youths were chased away.
One of the illegal foreign currency dealers told CITE that they will resist the illegal take over of the vending bays.
“We have been operating from this area for many years. We were only moved by the council after the outbreak of Covid-19 in the city and we will not allow these youths who are using the name of the ruling party to push us out of our area,” said the dealer.
Contacted for a comment, BCC Corporate Communications Manager Nesisa Mpofu, confirmed the development and added that they have since attended to it.
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan province Judith Ncube said she had not been informed of the incident.