Mbengo, addressing hundreds of traders angry at rent increases, said politicians had hijacked the liberation movement.
Zanu (PF) central committee member and business mogul Esau Mupfumi reportedly increased the rentals from $1 to $2 and told those who could not pay to vacate urgently. There was chaos at the market after some bouncers, under the instigation of Mupfumi, tried to evict the traders.
Mupfumi has reportedly acquired Meikles Park from the local authority to construct a state-of-the-art hotel.
The Zimbabwean saw hordes of vendors besiege Mutare central police station to lodge a formal complaint against Mupfumi. The traders were sent away and advised to discuss the matter amicably.
“Who is Mupfumi to tell us to vacate this place? We are the war veterans of Zanla and Zipra who went to war to fight for gutsaruzhinji (majority rule). We did not fight for individuals to own the whole country. We are not going back on the issue of equal distribution of resources,” said Mbengo.
“If Mupfumi wants us to start another war, we are ready for that.” Mbengo assured the vendors that he was ready to take up the matter with President Robert Mugabe. He added that Mupfumi had been given enough privilege by the party and should give others space.
“We are not refusing to vacate the park but it should be done in a more dignified manner. We are not animals that are just tossed around. Mupfumi should know that some people sacrificed their life for the liberation of this country,” said Mbengo.
“How can someone own the city? What we want is a place to sell our wares to eke a decent living and pay fees for our children,” said trader Trevor Dube. Vendors said the council should first allocate them a new site in town before Mupfumi was allowed to take over Meikles Park.Post published in: News