Bulawayo mayor accuses Zanu PF of fuelling illegal vending in the city

BULAWAYO – Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni on Monday accused Zanu PF of promoting illegal vending in the city, which was leading to rampant littering.

Mguni spoke as the city launched ‘Spring Cleaning Week’ which will see the local authority clear rubbish which has piled up at seven locations in the city centre.

The mayor says after they drove out illegal vendors from the city centre, Zanu PF encouraged them to return and occupy 5th Avenue where they are untouchable, even by the police.

“People who were settled here (5th Avenue) were settled by politicians from the ruling party and we have tried to engage the party and the security apparatus of the state to try and remove them,” Mguni said.

“This is a public road, it was closed to vending and we decentralised markets but people think money is the city centre. 5th Avenue remains a public road, it was gazetted as a public road and it remains as such. We have to enforce the law, but it requires collective effort of all government agencies including the Environmental Management Agency, health authorities, the security apparatus of the state and our own security officers to ensure that we reopen the road to the public. It’s a question of enforcement which has gone beyond the local authority alone.”

At the height of CovId-19, the government ordered the council to clear vendors from the CBD to high density suburbs and 5th Avenue was reopened to the motoring public.

Mguni however says many of the vendors have returned and are getting protection from Zanu PF.

He said the city council has held several meetings with the provincial Joint Operations Command and leaders of the vendors to find an amicable solution, without success. Only JOC and Zanu PF can cause the vendors to move, he said.

During the clean-up exercise, some of the vendors refused to make space for refuse trucks which were collecting garbage, ignoring pleas from Bulawayo minister Judith Ncube.

Rubbish clearance … The week-long clean-up exercise will focus on the central business district

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