GWERU: The new Mtapa market place turned into a warzone since the beginning of the week as vendors clashed with municipal authorities over use of the site which is yet to be completed as vendors felt abandoned by the City Fathers.
The pandemonium arose as vendors started allocating themselves stalls arguing that they are tired of the cat and mouse chase with municipal authorities in town whereas they had been forced to illegal sites following council’s delay to allocate them stalls.
“During the March 2020 subsequent lockdown, our stalls were demolished and we were promised that new stalls will be allocated to us in a short space of time. That never came to fruition.
“Having been let down, we face arrest for operating from where we deem workable and please note that the informal Mtapa market was forced to close down following health concerns among other issues,” said Gweru Vendors Association chairperson Angeline Zivanai.
“This means we have not been able to generate money for our families since last year and someone tells us to wait further while schools opening is approaching. Besides school fees, we also have bill and in the wake of such expenses, we allocated ourselves stalls so that we are able to work and fend for our families,” Zivanai further said.
City of Gweru communications and public relations officer, Vimbai Chingwaramusee however says council is now set to formally allocate stalls this Thursday as a way to deal with the impasse.
“We have been trying to address the anomaly of the past where an individual will own more than ten tables. We no longer want stall barons. We want to do this in a transparent manner,” Chingwaramusee said.
Sometime last year, through a government directive, City of Gweru demolished market stalls at Kudzanai bus terminus and the Kombayi vegetable markets as it took the advantage of the lockdown measures to refurbish infrastructure in the city centre with a proposal to permanently move the fresh vegetables markets to Mtapa as a way to decongest the city.
The projects are however still not complete as the Mayor during his state of the City address highlighted that projects were slowed down as constructors failed to import materials from outside Zimbabwe as a result of lockdown restrictions.