HARARE – A faith-based rights group has accused the Harare City Council (HCC) and police of disregarding a court order to stop the removal of vendors from the central business district (CBD).
The Jestina Mukoko-led Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said the two institutions had continued to show intent to violate laws after forging ahead with the raids on informal traders in the city centre despite a court injunction.
“According to the lawyers representing Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset), the court order was delivered to HCC officials and the (police) commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri.
“Despite this, police and council municipal police are still raiding vendors in the city centre in contempt of the court order,” ZPP said in a statement.
ZPP called for an investigation to be instituted urgently and those found guilty to be punished for violating the law. The rights group said authorities mandated to protect the vulnerable were now threatening their security and harassing them. Vendors and law enforcement agents have continued clashing in the city centre as informal traders resisted eviction, with police using teargas.
“It is definitely contempt of court and we will deal with it when we get to court because clearly they will be coming to court with dirty hands,” Viset counsel Tonderai Bhatasara said.
On Tuesday, High Court judge David Mangota issued an injunction in response to an urgent chamber application seeking to block the demolitions ordered by the HCC after an inter-ministerial taskforce led by the Health ministry banned vending of all uncooked and cooked foods following a typhoid outbreak that has so far claimed two lives.