Bulawayo council blitz against vendors leaves three injured

BULAWAYO – Three people were injured when Bulawayo Municipal Police opened fire on a group of city vendors who had gathered Thursday to protest a blitz against their operations by council.

Police confirmed the incident.

“The ZRP confirms a shooting incident in which three people were injured after Bulawayo City Council Police fired rubber bullets to disperse a crowd which had gathered to demonstrate against an operation targeting illegal vendors in Bulawayo CBD on 23 February 2023 in the morning,” police said.

Police said the injured were admitted at United Bulawayo Hospitals.

One of the vendors said the blitz was launched in the early hours of the day Thursday along Fife Street.

“They were taking people’s goods especially those who sell bales,” she said.

“The operation became violent when vendors started fighting them with stones.

“I have a strong belief some members of the municipal police were hurt.”

A pushcart operator said the clashes were very hostile.

The blitz had targeted those trading from undesignated sites such as streets, pavements and roadways.

Authorities at City Hall are keen to decongest the CBD after the chaos brought by the proliferation of vendors on city pavements has increased littering and brought other social ills such as thefts.

Meanwhile, in a move that could pass as a campaign gimmick, Zanu PF district chairperson Josiah Mutangi is said to have later addressed the vendors outside City Hall, telling them to return to their vending spots.

The Bulawayo City Council is under the opposition’s control.

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