Residents blast City of Harare over illegal vending

Nontando Magagula

The City of Harare torched a storm on Monday when it tweeted that it intended to remove the food vendors who are operating from the corner of Mount Pleasant Drive and St Kilda Road in Mount Pleasant. This followed complaints by property owners over the illegal vending site that serves University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students.

The message elicited backlash from the city’s residents and other stakeholders over the municipality’s failure to address a number of challenges across the city.

“Council (is going) to take action against illegal vendors near the University of Zimbabwe. Home owners are not happy with the proliferation of vending activities,” tweeted the municipality.

While some property owners in the suburb and elsewhere in the city supported the planned move, many were incensed by the local authority’s failure to address similar and other related problems elsewhere in Harare. They complained why the city authorities were treating the Mount Pleasant illegal vending problem with urgency, when they had been ignoring similar complaints across the city.

Mozoda kuenda kuUZ kure uko ko mishikashika on your door steps paNoczim House mapedza? Ko varipasi pefootbridge across Julius Nyerere Way right in your eyes?” queried a resident named Russians.

The residents drew the municipality’s attention to similar challenges in other residential areas like Mainway Meadows, Sunway City and Westgate among others.

“Why do you not chase away vendors from Retreat who have made Mainway Meadows an eyesore? They have erected a growth point adjacent to Mainway Meadows which they call paroundabout but you don't take action. Why?” asked one Twitter user, thehillnyisai1.

“What’s so special about those residents? No action has been taken at Sunway City turn off.  Bricks (and) sand poachers are all over (the place). We even called (City of Harare Spokesperson) Mr Chideme but no action was taken,” complained one @nyashachitgmai1.

“Next, remove the (vendors’) cars parked outside Westgate shops.  It’s a real eye sore and an accident hot spot,” responded Rhoda Mutasa.

Other residents expressed disquiet over a car sales business located opposite Delta Beverages plant in the Southerton industrial area, which they argued should be removed. 

Some residents did not mince their words about the source of poor service in the capital city. They attributed the challenge to the MDC factions and formations which have been controlling the municipality since 2000.

Kupindana kwamazuva kwasandura zvinhu zvese. Every evil and wickedness seems to have accompanied the formation of Chinja (MDC) in its various forms and shapes. There are now vendors in front of UZ gates of entry?” said George Chinyande.

Successive MDC councils have superintended over the deterioration of Harare over the years and the former sunshine city is now characterised by uncollected garbage, unattended sewage bursts, dirty tap water, un-functional street lights among other host of challenges.