Friday, 13 October 2017


Police have arrested 79 illegal vendors in the past two days, including three criminals who smashed a store and stole mobile phones during an operation to restore sanity in and around the city on Thursday The vendors are expected to appear in court soon. Harare assumed a refreshing new look on Thursday and yesterday as police and council mounted joint operations to rid the central business district (CBD) of illegal vendors and pirate taxis.

Though there were pockets of resistance from a few vendors on Thursday, by yesterday police had managed to assert their authority. The renewed crackdown follows Government’s directive on Wednesday to restore the capital to its once pristine state. And law enforcement agents have been able to account for those causing mischief within the city. National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed yesterday that 79 people had been arrested, most of them for “obstructing free passage”.

“Seventy-nine illegal vendors have been arrested and there hasn’t been any incidences of violence,” he said. The arrests, said Chief Supt Nyathi, included three criminals who reportedly smashed a business premise along Chinhoyi Street and stole cellphones. Most of the illegal vendors have been apprehended for contravening Section 46 (2) (f) of the Third Schedule of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:23, which criminalises encumbering or obstructing “the free passage along any street, road, thoroughfare, side walk or pavement”. Chief Supt Nyathi urged members of the public to continue co-operating with law enforcement officers during the operation.

“Meanwhile, we would like to warn criminals who want to take advantage of this operation to cause confusion, stealing and committing various criminal activities that the long arm of the law will surely catch up with them,” he said. Chief Supt Nyathi applauded members of the public in Harare for cooperating with the law enforcement agents and local authority officers during the first day of the operation code-named “Operation Sunshine City”.

“We have been given overwhelming support by the public and would like to thank all for this,” he said.“Please take note that this operation is meant to guarantee your safety, hygiene, promote lawful business conduct and ensure smooth flow of traffic in the Central Business District.

“We urge businesspeople and building owners not to assist vendors to hide wares on their behalf or keep them overnight. Those vendors who are lawfully registered should stick to their allocated points. Those found operating in undesignated points will have their licences withdrawn and will not be registered again.”

Businesspeople should take note, said Chief Supt Nyathi, that by assisting vendors to keep or hide wares they would be disadvantaging themselves as members of the public will buy from illegal vendors, instead of buying from licensed entities. Representatives of transport operators cheered the move by Government. Greater Harare Commuter Operators Association secretary-general Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said as compliant operators, they were encouraged by the commitment from the authorities to restore order in the CBD.

“We want to urge those who were operating from undesignated zones to take heed of the order and return to the legal points,” he said.

“In the same vein, we urge authorities to recognise that this informal sector is providing livelihoods to many families by providing sufficient legal working space, especially ranks (including building of high-rise parking decks above current ranks, as well as additional pick and drop-off points around the existing ranks where toilets and other sanitary facilities are already available.

Mr Katsvairo pleaded with the police and council to decisively deal with mushika-shika operators. He said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission officers should be involved in the operation as past experience had shown that most well-intentioned efforts by authorities were derailed by some conflicted senior officials.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday during a Joint Operations Command (JOC)briefing, Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs Minister Miriam Chikukwa bemoaned the deplorable state of the capital and directed that all illegal vendors and pirate taxis be moved to designated sites with immediate effect. The briefing was attended by representatives of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), and officials from the Harare City Council (HCC) and the Environment Management Agency (EMA. herald


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