Innocent Ruwende and Virginia Kashiri
Vendors resisting confiscation of their wares fought running battles with municipal police on Monday evening, with some vendors reportedly being mauled by dogs after invading the Harare Metropolitan Police headquarters in the Workington Industrial area, off Bishop Gaul. It is alleged that vendors attacked municipal police officers who had confiscated their wares on their way to their headquarters and the officers ran into their headquarters with the vendors in hot pursuit.
At the headquarters it is not clear whether municipal police released the dogs, or it is guard dogs that attacked the vendors up to the Kopje area. The city’s corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme yesterday defended the municipal police saying they had the right to protect council property.
“The municipal police were attacked by street vendors. There was an operation in the city where about 40 pushcarts were impounded along Robert Mugabe. A group of vendors’ waylaid some municipal policemen as their truck was going to headquarters,” he said.
“The vendors began to attack municipal police officers, who were in the truck. The municipal police officers disembarked from the truck and ran for dear life towards the municipal police headquarters. They were followed into the premises by the vendors.” He said naturally the municipal police are mandated to protect municipal property and at their headquarters the officers defended the municipal property against destruction.
“They did not use dogs, but at the headquarters there are dogs. If you trespass into the municipal headquarters and you are violent, the dogs will attack you.” The vendors accused the municipal cops of stealing their wares. Mr Chideme challenged that the vendors to name and shame corrupt officers.
“If vendors have such cases of confiscation and stealing, we urge them to report such issues. We are tired of reports of rot without substantive naming of culprits. We have asked them to name and shame individuals,” he said. He said there were several vending places in most suburbs, which were not being utilised, including Queensdale, Arcadia, Mupedzanhamo and Glen Norah B among others.