This past week, Harare Central Business District (CBD) has been some kind of a war zone between vendors and police with the operation to move the former to designated points spilling into the night.
Police patrols that have always been known to be daylight operations are now stretching into evening hours which appears to be a clever move since vendors in the past months were more rampant in the CBD area during after work hours.
263Chat conducted a brief survey on the reactions of street vendors concerning the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) operations to clear them from the CBD.
“Chino bhururuka chinomhara” (everything that flies will land) was the brief response from Mai Titi and her group of fellow vendors who operate along First Street and Jason Moyo.
From Mai Titi’s response, it became clear that vendors do not have intentions to leave the CBD and are patient to allow the hype and tempers to cool before they can resume their operations.
263Chat survey also revealed that police operations are no longer as tense as they were, vendors are already trooping back into the streets with some preferring to operate at night though they have clashed with the police who are reportedly moving in trucks and confiscating their wares.
Those vendors who have taken the compliance route are already making inroads to apply for hawkers’ license at the Harare City Council offices.
“I have seen that it’s better to apply for a hawker’s license going for only $140 per year which is less than 0.50c each day than working under fear of having your stuff confiscated at any time by the police,” said a fashion designer named Rumbie.
Meanwhile there are reports that the ZRP has set up a mini base right in the CBD by the Registrar General’s Department offices at the corner Mbuya Nhanda and Bank Street so as to increase the efficiency of the operation
The operation follows after President Robert Mugabe expressed concern over the increasing number of vendors in the CBD.
Acting Town Clerk for Harare City Council, Josephine Ncube has made it clear that it is a criminal offence to block traffic and they will operate during the day and at night so that the streets of Harare are left clean and free.