Impassable pavements

Pavements in the central business district here are impassable as vendors jostle for the best place from which to sell their wares.

Residents expressed concern over the development. They said it had become increasingly difficult to walk and conduct their business in the CBD and challenged the responsible authority to act.

An economist said the government should address the poverty, corruption and unemployment that have led to such a boom in the informal economy.

Most companies such as Mutare Board and Paper Mills, Cairns Holdings and Border Timbers have collapsed and chances of resuscitation are slim given the current political situation.

Recent raids by Zimbabwe Republic Police and municipal police have failed to bring about change as vendors remain defiant. The vendors told The Zimbabwean they were not committing any offence.

“There are no jobs so what do they expect us to do? They raid us and take away our wares or make us pay fines but does that make sense to take away from the poor who are trying to survive?” said Dorothy Musindo (37), a single mother of two.

Bruce Mawoyo (29), a university graduate who sells pirated discs, has been unable to secure a job since finishing his degree.

“I sell pirated discs. I know it’s illegal but there is nothing I can do because I have a family to feed. I earn $40 on a good day,” said Mawoyo.

The local authority said it lacked the financial resources to construct vendor marts to accommodate the ever-increasing number of vendors.

“The local authority is broke and cannot construct and service new sites for vendors,” said an official from the department of Housing and Social Service who declined to be named.

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