Newly elected Mayor of the City of Harare His Worship, Councillor Herbert Gomba says a reasonable and realistic approach is needed before council can start to move vendors dotted in and around the Central Business District (CBD).
In a wide ranging interview with 263Chat at Town House, Gomba said his administration will not rush to move vendors off the streets without coming up with workable alternatives that promotes human rights.
Gomba, who said he learnt from his predecessor’s mistakes, admitted that vending is a huge a problem in Harare but could only be addressed if the economy improves and there is an engagement with the vendors.
“You cannot remove vendors without engaging them. You need to look at the consequences that follow after. I cannot embark on a futile exercise and what we really need to do is to make sure that we create the necessary framework for them to realise that what they are doing is not good for the city,” said Gomba who took over from Ben Manyenyeni.
He said council will soon move to open up the vending stalls along Simon Mazorodze Road, which have become a white elephant as they have gone for years without being used.
However, Gomba feels there is need for more of the same vending stalls which he said will accommodate the estimated 50 000 vendors operating in Harare.
He noted that his admiration will not use force on vendors , as has been previously done, but will seek to consult on the way forward and by his own admission, that does not seem like it will happen any time soon.
“Vending cannot be solved by council because it is something that came up as a result of the inability of the economy to create jobs. You cannot solve it by force or by any other means unless there is an engagement and sorting out our economic mess.
“So basically, we have to see how best we can create employment on our people.
“On our part, as council, we are looking at streamlining the charges and the regulations which make it impossible for a person who wants to start a factory or whatever in Zimbabwe,” said Gomba.
He said his administration will avail land to investors with the sole purpose of building more vending space on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) deal.
Vendors and illegal transport operators have for long been blamed for the chaos and congestion that the city finds itself in.