11 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Vendors, Council Clash Over Terminus Construction

Over 300 vendors here are calling on the local authority to abandon a million-dollar construction project which they claim will push them out of business.

The Kwekwe City Council awarded private land developer, Rockodox Minerals a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) tender to construct a state-of-the-art long distance bus terminus on the outskirts of the city.

Under the BOT arrangement, Rockodox Minerals will construct 20 shops, two information centres, ticketing booths and place pavers and tar over the terminus.

The tender also includes the construction of a fuel station opposite the terminus.

The vendors, who for the past 10 years have been selling an array of hardware products and traditional herbs, say their businesses are threatened by the development.

Vice-chairman of Kwekwe Loaders Association, Simon Mudzemeti said the project would leave most vendors jobless or at the mercy of council police who are known to be ruthless when dealing with vendors.

"This project is being put right in the face of small business owners who have no capacity to compete with these well-oiled business people who will obviously be running the shops," said Mudzemeti.

"We call on council to just improve the market stalls which are already here and allow vendors to go about their business."

Kwekwe Mayor, Matenda Madzoke however, says there is no going back on the proposed project.

"The plan was drafted by the previous council but when we came in we saw that it was good and we adopted it.

"Apart from improving the image of the town, it ensures that travellers will be able to buy food in a healthy environment, among other benefits," said Madzoke.

Kwekwe Central MP, Masango Matambanadzo has accused the council of departing from the Zanu PF ideology which promotes vendors and indigenisation.

"We cannot have projects which are not in harmony with our people and against the poor in our society.

"We have to constantly consult before embarking on these projects and for this project, the vendors have approached me," he said while addressing over 100 vendors at the terminus on Monday.

Addressing the same gathering, Madzoke said vendors would be allowed to take up space in the shops and expand their businesses in a manner that protected public health.

"We think that this will add value to our city and also give a chance to our small-scale business people to own and operate shops here in a manner that does not threaten public health," he said.

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