Government has banned vendors from operating in the central business districts (CBDs) of major cities in response to the cholera outbreak.
Information minister Jenfan Muswere told journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing that the move is part of a comprehensive effort to contain the spread of the waterborne disease.
“Government directs vendors be removed from the streets, gardens using raw sewer be destroyed, clean water be availed, mobile toilets be availed in city centre, Civil Protection Act be activated to fight cholera,” Muswere said.
“Mitigatory measures being taken are the removal of food vendors selling or cooking food on the streets of Harare and Chitungwiza; bulk safe water trucking to western suburbs of Harare to enable access tosafe drinking water; health education campaigns; removal of all dumpsites in Harare and Chitungwiza and reopening of public toilets.”
The country has recorded over 7 000 cholera cases and at least 142 deaths.
The decision to ban vendors, however, has sparked mixed reactions among informal traders.
Many rely on vending as their primary source of income and are concerned about the economic impact of the ban.
“They are just targeting us, even in rural areas where there are no vendors, there has been a spike in cholera cases,” said a vendor who operates in the capital.
Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation director Samuel Wadzai urged his members to abide by government’s directive.
“This is a very dangerous situation, so we urge our members to abide by the regulations that are going to be put in place,” he said.
“We disagree with the view that it’s only vendors who are spreading cholera. We need to educate everyone so that we have a holistic approach at addressing this challenge.”
Muswere also announced that Treasury has since released US$700 000 to help clear waste dumpsites in Harare.
In a related incident, Health minister Douglas Mombeshora visited Harare’s Kuwadzana high-density suburb following a spike in cholera cases in the area. Newsday