Zimbabwe: Illegal Vendors Mushroom in Mbare

Illegal vendors are back at Shawasha grounds in Mbare, exposing themselves to Covid-19 as they are not following guidelines and preventive measures.

The vendors disappeared after President Mnangagwa first announced the national lockdown on March 30.

It was business as usual as vendors were selling wares at ease in Mbare, with no social distancing being observed and some not wearing masks, while others wore them improperly.

Fruit vendors with pushcarts were also seen going about their business.

Those selling second-hand clothes constituted the majority.

Our team interacted with the vendors who said hunger was pushing them back onto the streets.

"The formal market Mupedzanhamo is closed and under renovations," said a vendor who identified herself as Mai Brenda.

"So, life has been tough for us since we used to sell at the market.

"Our fellow vendors selling green produce are allowed to do business and eking out a living, but for us, it has never been better."

Another vendor said it was better to engage in running battles with security forces than sit at home.

"I am in between a rock and a hard place because I have to fend for my three kids and wife," said the vendor. "So, either way, life is just tough and I will soldier on."

Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme yesterday said, "We are aware that vendors are back on the streets in Mbare. Our municipal police are working with ZRP to ensure adherence to the lockdown rules."

As part of a raft of measures in response to Covid-19, Council is constructing permanent vending stalls across the city, including the Coca Cola market, which will make it easy for vendors to operate in safe places.

The construction of Coca-Cola vending stalls at the corner of Seke and Dieppe roads, commonly referred to as the Coke Corner, is taking shape with the erection of the structure framework now complete.

The vending site will accommodate between 1 000 and 1 600 vendors.

The local authority is also sprucing up its markets, including the popular Mupedzanhamo.

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