A showdown between the Bulawayo City Council and vendors aligned with the ruling party, Zanu PF, may be on the horizon following the council’s decision to rid the Central Business District (CBD) of all informal traders. The council has been attempting to remove informal traders affiliated with the ruling party who have taken over the city.
On Friday, the council issued a strong warning to illegal and violent vendors who are breaking council bylaws. Christopher Dube, the city’s Town Clerk, stated in a statement that the council will conduct an exercise to eliminate all unauthorized activities in the city starting Wednesday, January 11.
“All persons conducting unauthorized informal trading on undesignated sites, pavements, roadways, washing of cars, repairing of vehicles, illegal pick up points by private vehicles, commuter omnibuses and buses, delivery of farm produce and other products onto the streets, push carts, heavy commercial vehicles in the Central Business District, illegal throwing and dumping of garbage or litter are given up to Tuesday, January 10 to cease their illegal activities,” Dube said.
He advised all informal traders in the city to regularize their vending papers to avoid being caught in the impending crackdown. The council has designated informal trading sites in the CBD and suburban areas and encourages trading at these sites in accordance with municipal bylaws. This promotes peace, cleanliness, and control of all informal trading activities through associations that have Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the council. Dube warned that offenders will be prosecuted.
The council will hold a series of engagement meetings with various stakeholders, including political parties, bus operators, and the business community, next Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the operation. The council previously resolved to forcibly remove the vendors.