HARARE – Vendors and #Tajamuka activists yesterday failed to show up for a demonstration they had called in the Harare central business district (CBD).
The protest was in reaction to a blitz launched by Harare City Council(HCC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to evict vendors from the CBD, as part of desperate measures to contain a typhoid outbreak that has so far claimed two lives.
While #Tajamuka activists and the vendors did not turn up, there was heavy police presence and water cannons at the protests venue – the open space at the corner of Julius Nyerere and Jason Moyo.
A truck-load of riot police was also nearby while several other police officers milled around the place.
In its demo alert, #Tajamuka also invited disgruntled members of the public.
“Even if you are not a vendor but you are outraged by the economic injustice being meted out against vendors, you are welcome.
“We will meet with all vendors and all patriotic Zimbabweans to confront the city of Harare and the ministry of Local Government,” it said.
“No vendor will be expelled from their livelihood. Munhu wese achabva achienda industry awana basa. (Vendors will only move after getting jobs in the industry,” #Tajamuka said.
Efforts to contact Tajamuka leader Promise Mkwananzi were fruitless as his mobile phone was switched off.
However, the pressure group later issued a statement stating that heavy rains had disrupted logistics, making the demonstration unsuccessful.
“We pledge to continue to pursue the right to peaceful protest as encapsulated in Section 59 of our country’s Constitution. In that regard, our demonstration has been postponed to a later date,” #Tajamuka said.
Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) leaders were also not available for comment as their mobiles were also unavailable.
Recently, Zimbabwe Peace Project(ZPP) accused police and HCC of disregarding a court order by High Court judge David Mangota to stop the removal of vendors from the CBD.
ZPP said the two institutions continued to violate laws by forging ahead with the raids on informal traders despite a court injunction.
“According to the lawyers representing 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.