Zimbabwe: Council to Close Mupedzanhamo Market

27 March 2020

Harare City Council intends to close the Mbare Fresh Produce Market, where the city gets most of its vegetable supplies, and the Mupedzanhamo informal market tomorrow, if the Government agrees.

Council has already told vendors at undesignated sites that municipal police will be enforcing the order.

Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said council was still waiting for Government's response on the closure of the markets.

In a statement, council told vendors trading at undesignated sites to immediately vacate such places as part of efforts to minimise human contact in the fight against the coronavirus.

"Municipal police has been directed to move in and enforce the measure with the assistance of the Zimbabwe Republic Police," said the council.

"We advise that for those operating in designated areas such as markets and home industries, council is consulting with Central Government for the closure of the same starting March 28, 2020.

"Should the consultation succeed, traders in all markets must vacate markets and home industries by end of day March 27. These measures are being taken in light of the Covid-19 virus, which is currently ravaging the whole world." Under normal circumstances, council would have done consultative meetings with members of the informal sector in line with its engagement model with all stakeholders.

Announcing a raft of measures on Monday to limit gatherings and travel, President Mnangagwa noted difficulties in the informal sector, where around three quarters of families earn a living.

The President intimated that the Government was looking at controls, rather than outright bans. The two giant markets were both crowded yesterday.

While there was hand washing taking place at Mupedzanhamo, an advance made during this week, it was a different case at Mbare Musika. At Glen View 8 complex, traders, mainly in furniture manufacturing, were going on with their business as usual.

Queues ignored social distancing across the city at terminuses, and in queues for water, mealie meal and fuel yesterday.

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