The removal of vendors from undesignated vending sites, which began this week, will ensure that girls are free from sexual harassment, Harare Provincial Affairs Minister Miriam Chikukwa has said. Speaking during commemorations to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, Minister Chikukwa said apart from the vendor menace, touts were also a threat to young girls.
"The City of Harare has already started registering all vendors in preparation for their move to designated vending sites," she said.
"We want to ensure that public spaces and streets are free from sexual harassment and gender-based violence to enhance the mobility of girls and young women in and around the city." Minister Chikukwa said the Constitution advocated the protection of children, and Government wanted a society free of sexual assault, molestation or harassment in public and private spaces.
"Article 52 postulates protection rights to bodily and psychological integrity, which include the right to freedom from all forms of abuse, and Article 66 states that everyone who is legally in Zimbabwe has the right to move freely," Minister Chikukwa said. She thanked the police for putting in place mechanisms that protected girls from sexual abuse.
"I would, therefore, like to commend ZRP for these efforts and encourage them to increase the number of gender-sensitive officers to strengthen the protection of girls," she said. Minister Chikukwa said boys should be part of the fight against sexual harassment and gender violence. Harare City Council has started moving vendors out of the city centre, as their presence had caused unnecessary congestion of roads and pavements.
President Mugabe last week pointed at the need to ensure that the streets of Harare were de-congested and that they were clean to reflect the city's status as the capital. This comes as Chitungwiza Municipality has heeded President Mugabe's call to act on illegal vendors and will today start registering them as part of measures to bring sanity in the town. Acting town clerk Ms Charity Maunga told The Herald yesterday that they were taking action against illegal vending.
"Our President over the weekend ordered that vendors should go to designated sites," she said.
"Our view is that we should take advantage of that order. We are starting the registration process tomorrow (today) for all our vendors to ensure that we are able to allocate them designated sites to trade on, so that there is order in the town. The registration will go on until next Friday when we will be allocating them designated places. We are calling on them to come and register through our area offices that are in St Mary's, Zengeza, Seke North (Makoni) and Seke South." Ms Maunga said vendors should bring certified copies of their national identification card (ID) and two passport-size photos.
"We intend to prepare some IDs for them, so they should bring a registration fee of $5 to be used for making their IDs. This is a new registration process and if one has registered before it does not count anymore.
"Everyone willing to trade in Chitungwiza should come. We will register you and immediately allocate you space in the designated sites accompanied with a registration number. We are promising them that everyone will be allocated a legal place to trade on since we already have existing vending stalls around the town. In case the existing stalls run out, we have created designated sites to allocate the excess numbers." Ms Maunga said the move will de-congest the town and make it clean in line with Harare City Council's vision, considering that Chitungwiza considers itself to be part of the capital because of its proximity.
"We cannot have a situation where Harare is clean, but when we go to the satellite towns, the areas are dirty, there is no order," she said.