BULAWAYO – Vendors here might heave a sigh of relief after the mainstream MDC ordered council to stop harassing them forthwith.
MDC provincial spokesperson Felix Mafa told journalists that they were forced to intervene after realising that vendors — who constitute the majority of people that overwhelmingly voted for the opposition party in 2013 elections — were being harassed.
“The council should be vendor-friendly than harassing, beating them and auctioning their wares,” Mafa said.
He questioned the rationale of raiding vendors, seizing their wares and then handing the confiscated items to the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“The party has observed time and again that after confiscating their hard-found wares, they take them to Drill Hall (Police Station) and auction them at give-away prices, with some of the wares taken by the police for their personal use without even the council benefiting,” Mafa said.
He said the constant raids of vendors has also promoted corruption among the police as most of the officers are usually the first ones to buy the auctioned wares at unreasonably low prices.
“The council does not benefit anything from these brutal operations, so why harass the residents who are trying to eradicate poverty in their families?” he asked rhetorically.
Mafa said instead of resorting to harassment, the council should manage vending by creating and providing spaces for them to operate freely.
“MDC, as a social democratic party, believes in pro-poor policies, hence we have instructed our councillors to be above board. We condemn in the strongest terms any form of vice one can think of.”
The provincial spokesperson said the party stands guided by its principles, hence will not allow “miscreants” in the council.
“We do not protect miscreants and corrupt councillors, staff and executives in the council. We urge our elected leaders to be people-oriented and accountable to one’s character and avoid underhand deals,” he said.