Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Harare City Council will not go back on its 48-hour ultimatum, which expires today, for vendors to stop selling food as a way of curtailing the spread of typhoid, an official said yesterday.
This is despite resistance by vendors who are insisting that their business is not responsible for spreading the disease.
Harare acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the ban would not be lifted and it was in the vendors’ interest to stop selling food items.
“The 48-hour notice is very humane,” he said. “It is a considered time-frame. We have issued the ban in consultation with the Government. It is being done in public interest.
“This is no time to score cheap goals by attacking noble interventions whose aim is to preserve life. Food vending is one of the areas we are dealing with. We are addressing burst sewer pipes and increasing water supply. We have enhanced garbage collection in all areas.”
Vendors yesterday blasted the Harare City Council for issuing the 48-hour ultimatum, saying it was harsh and discriminatory.
In a statement, vendor’s organisation Queen of Grace ZIMASSET Trust spokesperson Mr McNorman Chitongo said while they were concerned about the spread of typhoid, it was unfair to single out vendors as the main cause.
“The leadership, membership and entire vending family of Queen of Grace ZIMASSET Trust are worried and incensed by the devious impromptu ultimatum issued by the Harare City Council on Harare vendors,” he said.
“While the vending community is correspondingly concerned about the spread and effects of typhoid in Harare, it is the local authority’s gratuitous directive that has irked us to the bone.
“Harare City Council claims that their purported ‘research’ has proved that vendors are the chief drivers of typhoid. This research overlooked council’s failure to collect refuse in the affected areas.”
Mr Chitongo said the city’s “failure to maintain public ablution facilities has been a non-factor to council’s research and only the vendors have been convicted by the council chambers”.
“As an organisation representing informal traders, we treasure hygiene in our quest to protect the livelihoods and income of our members, and as such we would never allow unhygienic conditions to engulf our areas of trade and residence,” he said.