. . . Vendors allege corruption, nepotism
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
ALLOCATION of stalls at Harare’s new Coca-Cola vending site has come to a halt amid protests by the informal traders over alleged corruption and nepotism by the MDC- led local authority’s employees.
Close to 2 000 informal traders, who were moved from undesignated points around the capital’s central business district, camped at the new site along Seke Road a month ago pending formal allocation of vending stalls by Harare City Council.
There is confusion at the site with vendors allocating themselves stalls as council watches helplessly.
Attempts by the local authority to bring lists of beneficiaries from their offices with a view to restoring order have hit a brick wall.
Vendors accused them of introducing fresh names of people who were never involved in street vending, leaving out known vendors.
When The Herald visited the new site, vendors expressed concern at the approach being taken by council officials.
Council officials who had come to formally allocate vending stalls, were barred from doing their work by some vendors.
The site literally became a no-go area for the municipality officers.
Officers parked their vehicles under a tree near the public toilet on the site but hesitated to get into the crowd.
Vendors appealed for Government’s intervention to ensure that those who were moved from the city centre got stalls first.
Ms Portia Karanye said she feared being kicked out of the site when council arrives with its list of traders, who have no vending history.
“We are living in fear of being left out in the formal allocation despite being here for over three weeks.
“We met Government and agreed to leave the undesignated vending sites in the city centre.
“Government directed us to this place but council is now bringing new names of vendors that we do not even know.
“If I do not come here daily, I risk losing my space, hence I must remain in camp to defend my territory,” said Ms Karenye.
Mr Walter Muzhewe appealed for the President’s intervention saying the rot in council was stalling development.
“The list that council brought to us excluded many of us who are camped here. Real vendors who complied with Government’s directive to leave town are being left out. We cannot allow that to happen.
“Our President must intervene and protect us against the corrupt council officials,” he said.
Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said the allocation process had started but it was being disrupted by “space barons” who had already settled illegally.
“Allocation has started but we are facing challenges of ‘space barons’ who are blocking our officers from doing their work.
“Some have already pitched tents illegally and’ as council, we will remove all those tents to allow proper allocation of stalls,” said Mr Chideme.
It is now close to month after the vendors moved on site but council has not yet allocated stalls to the beneficiaries.