Gweru vendors declare bloodshed to avoid eviction

Tinashe Zisengwe

Thousands of Gweru vendors living in abject poverty who were given a 48 hour ultimatum to vacate the city streets by yesterday have promised bloodshed against the local authority officials, if it is the only way for them to remain operational.

Speaking to Gweru Vendors’ Association boss Gift Arnold Shava popularly known as VZ, he said that the city council is looking for a massive battle with the vendors by trying to enforce the verdict.

“The city council is looking for war with us. Vending does not mean that we are not learned but it is a sign of poverty and they should consider that, we have degrees amongst us but they are no jobs.

“What baffles the mind is that late last year council made us to pay $6 registration fee in order to be given a legal market place but it was to no avail.  Now they want us to evacuate, where are we supposed to go,” said the vendor boss Shava.

He also castigated recent council’s move to order vendors to vacate the streets and go to the outskirts of the CBD where they have constructed a toilet so far. However the vendors are denying since the assigned area is swampy.

Speaking to one of the vendors selling fruits and vegetables by TM Pick and Pay Supermarket, Svovai Gura viewed the local municipality’s move as hogwash saying she is not going anywhere no matter what the circumstances might be.

“We do not care whatever they say (council), they should totally forget that we will permanently move from away from our markets because we eke out a living here.

“This is our strategic market to attract our readily available customers; we specifically chose to operate here since we target customers from Pick and Pay as well as OK supermarkets. There are no jobs everywhere, this is our only source of livelihood, and how else do they expect us to survive? , said the infuriated vendor.

Shocking revelations are that some city council mafias are alleged to be demanding bribes in form of tomatoes and cabbages from the hard stricken poverty vendors in order to avoid being vacated from the streets.

In an official notice issued last week by the city’s Town Clerk, Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza, it reads that all vendors who have deserted their legal vending bays should return to their original vending inlets by the 28th of February 2017.

It also stated that if the vendors fail to comply, the local authority would confiscate goods that are being sold on illegal vending points without further notice.

However, vendors are turning a deaf ear towards the plea.