The Sunday Mail
Basing on recent developments, it is evidently clear that the City of Harare is losing the war to rid the capital of illegal vending practicTes.
Despite concerted efforts, the city has, to a larger extent, failed to bring sanity to the streets.
Recently, Harare descended on illegal vendors and destroyed the illegal vending structures that had mushroomed across the city.
The operation saw the illegal vending structures that were erected along the major road that connects Mbare to the CBD being razed to the ground.
Bringing with it a refreshing look, especially to the overcrowded streets of Mbare, the operation was seen by many as a step in the right direction.
Barely some few days after the operation, the vendors were back at the hotpots, rendering the council’s efforts to clean the city futile.
It is evidently clear that Harare is failing to nip the vending menace in the bud.
A recent visit to Mbare revealed that the council’s efforts to rid the streets of illegal vending did not achieve the intended result.
Although the structures were demolished, the vendors are back at their illegal vending sites.
Instead of putting up stalls, some vendors are now selling their wares from the boot of their cars.
Those without cars lay their wares on the ground.
Some of the vendors are now using portable stalls that they will dismantle and carry home.
Harare City Council spokesperson, Mr Michael Chideme, said the demolition of the illegal structures will go on until the capital gets rid of illegal vendors.
He encouraged vendors to use designated vending stalls.
“There are a lot of unused vending stalls at all shopping centres. We are encouraging the vendors to take up those spaces. We are also inviting partners for the provision of more space,” Chideme said.
Harare’s problems are not only confined to vending.
Instead, the capital city is facing a plethora of problems, chief among them sewer blockages, uncollected garbage, congestion and illegal settlers.
Harare is synonymous with bad roads, a very poor drainage system and outbreaks of communicable diseases.
The city is failing to provide clean water, forcing residents to resort to other alternative water sources such as shallow wells.
Harare’s drainage system is virtually non-functional, resulting in the prevalence of flash floods.
Due to the failure by the city to provide basic necessities, council often clashes with residents association, civic groups and non-governmental organisations.
Illegal commuter omnibus ranks and pirate taxis, known as mushikashika, are some of the problems that the city has failed to find permanent solutions to.
Stream bank cultivation and the invasion of wetlands are two major environmental challenges that council has failed to deal with.
Citizens brazenly cultivate on the verges of roads, hindering the flow of traffic and endangering the safety of the residents in the process.
The city has also failed to effectively tackle issues to do with waste management and energy provision.
The chaos that is related to the unplanned cultivation of every available space often result in muggings, rapes and robberies.
Criminals take advantage of the cover provided by the crops to pounce on unsuspecting residents who will be using footpaths.
The bad conditions of the roads has been a source of anguish for the residents.
Roads that leads to most high-density areas are riddled with potholes and are death traps.
In 2014, the council was taken to court for failure to maintain its road network and was also sued for $300 000 damages after a man broke his leg after falling into an unsecured drain. Several other court cases were brought against the council by motorists over damaged cars.
Motorists are now taking it upon themselves the task of re-filling the potholes. The city often battles such communicable diseases as cholera and typhoid.
Residents often consumes contaminated water due to erratic water supplies.
Investigations have shown that the key drivers of typhoid and other water-borne diseases are issues related to personal hygiene, unregulated vending of foodstuffs such as vegetables, meat, fish and inadequate water supplies.
In 2018, council officials confirmed that some Mbare residents were resorting to using the bush to relieve themselves due to the unavailability or limited supply of water.
During the rainy season, the rains will wash the human waste to the shallow boreholes, resulting in contamination.
A report which was released after a typhoid outbreak revealed that most of the boreholes in Mbare and Sunningdale were contaminated.