THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is disillusioned by the conduct of the police with regard to vendors.
It is clear to all and sundry that the economic melt down, high levels of unemployment and the political stalemate have rapidly increased the number of Zimbabweans who earn their living in the informal sector.
Â Â This situation has created two inimical groups: the police (state and municipal) being “hunters” and the vendors, the “hunted”, and it has seriously exposed vendors to continuous harassment by the police.
Â Â CHRA is reliably informed that a uniformed policeman and a plain-clothed detective allegedly pounced on 15 unassuming vendors in Msasa and confiscated their vegetables and fruits and told them that the goods would be forfeited to the state. The vendors are alleged to have tried to explain that they had licences but the police officers would not brook those explanations.
Â Â The vendors reported the matter at Rhodesville police station andÂ the police convened a meeting with the vendors and the municipal police. The vendors produced their vending licences to the police during the meeting which was held on October 20 at Rhodesville police station and the officer in charge instructed the police officers who had confiscated the goods to either return the goods to their owners or render equivalent payment in monetary form.Â The vendors celebrated this small victory as they were paid by the policeman and his partner.
CHRA would like to remind the police of their professional, social and legal duty to enforce the law and protect the public and to also observe the law and be honest in discharging their duties. Vendors are not plastic balls to be kicked around for the edification of the police but human beings who deserve humane treatment.
CHRA urges residents to stand for their rights all the time. The bigger picture reflects badly on the state and CHRA will, after completion of investigation into the whole matter, take the issue further as the police cannot be allowed to take advantage of poor vendors.
Meanwhile the de facto Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development is urged to stop interfering with the running of the city and allow the council to make progress in cleaning up the mess of his “commissions”.
Among other things, the council needs to designate and build necessary infrastructure in vending market places, reclaim water management and sewer reticulation from Zinwa and ensure that there is improvement in municipal service delivery. CHRA also urges the country’s political leadership to move swiftly in resolving the country’s socio-economic and political problems which have brought untold poverty among residents.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)