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'Certain people who brought their culture to Bulawayo have turned our street into a Mbare'

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2023 at 20:50hrs | Views
Fifth Avenue in Bulawayo has become a hub of illegal activities and city fathers have vowed to continue with their operation to rid the area of illegal traders.

This comes after clashes between city council municipal officers and vendors during an operation to decongest the city centre by targeting people trading from undesignated sites such as streets, pavements and roadways.

The hostile clashes left three people injured after the municipal police fired rubber bullets at a group of vendors who were protesting against the operation.

Nine municipal police officers have since appeared in court facing attempted murder charges and were released on ZWL50 000 bail each.  

Debating the issue at a full council meeting, Wednesday, the councillors blamed Zanu-PF for causing chaos in the city centre.

"I don't think you can fight back for selling tomatoes, thus where there is a hub for drugs in the city, that is where most of the illegalities are taking place, you can't defend a tomato with your life, it's a sign that we have people like I always say from Salisbury trying to turn Bulawayo into Salisbury and as the leadership that was entrusted to protect the city, we must stand firm and protect our city because we have to leave it for another generation," said Deputy Mayor Councillor Mlandu Ncube.

"We don't care that you are going to elections but the city and infrastructure must remain intact, we are going to clear the city."

Ward 25 councillor, Mzama Dube said it is shocking that some people will stand up and encourage illegal informal traders to continue their business.

"The council is trying to clean the city for it to return to its status but it's shocking that some people will rise and urge vendors to continue with their business in undesignated places by force, we don't understand this as residents," said Cllr Dube.

"We are asking these people to respect us, whether it's a certain political party, it should respect that in Bulawayo there are various big political parties, we are seeing what they are trying to do but they should not make the city of Bulawayo dirty with their culture."

Ward 24 councillor, Arnold Batirai said the city fathers cannot allow Zanu-pf to go against the city by-laws.

"They must know that they are not above the law, they must uphold and respect the constitution in this country," he said.

Batirai said the local authority has 10 thousand bays  outside the CBD, " they have to follow proper procedures, they have to engage council, they need to be allocated those bays, they can't come to the CBD and think they will go against the constitution of this country."

In addition, Ward 21 councillor Tinevimbo Maphosa said there is a need for stakeholder engagement to ensure that order is restored in the city.

"We need to seriously engage, I am sure there are other meetings that have taken place in line with ensuring that our city is clean, but what boggles my mind when is that when we try to enforce the by-laws other people are resisting that enforcement. I am asking myself where are we going as a city, as a nation, when we are not able to enforce the by-laws because some are resisting, this is critical and we need to come together and put our heads together so that we are not becoming a lawless city," he said.

Meanwhile, ward 9 councillor Donaldson Mabutho said the chaos was being sponsored by people city seeking to destabilise the local authority.

"The question we should be asking is, is it the Bulawayo people or its certain people who brought their culture here, we are talking of individuals who are riding on politics, maybe they want to use it as a campaign tool that the city is dirty, the city fathers are failing to clean the city, that is what is happening on 5th Avenue," said Cllr Mabutho.

"I  believe that there should be a political dialogue, there should be serious and robust engagements to try and ensure that we bring 5th Avenue into order otherwise it will scare investors away from the city."

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