While many are still nursing their wounds and despite the chaotic violence that saw the police shoot dead two civilians during an program dubbed Operation Restore Order last week, Vice President Kembo Mohadi yesterday reiterated the same insensitive verbiage.
The Police and the government have been threatened with legal action over the program and the Passengers Association and other civic bodies complained that the state was being unreasonable in its approach.
Passengers Association leader Tafadzwa Goliati together with National Vendors Union leader, Sten Zvorwadza told ZimEye.com they had already presented an alternative plan to decongest the streets but the government avoided all proposals for consultations going ahead to launch their Operation Restore Order. The term has been viewed as insensitive due to the similarities with the coup that saw Robert Mugabe being removed last year November when the army said they were targeting criminals surrounding the President. Civic movements have complained that the state has left real criminals walking scot free and begun targeting vendors and kombi operators.
When the so called Operation Restore Order was launched last week, police opened fire on civilians and two were shot dead, a development that saw the whole program being public condemned as legal action was also mounted.
But VP Mohadi on Thursday ignored the public outrage going ahead to state that there is an urgent need for Government intervention in restoring order in Harare. He said the capital city was now a jungle not worth its status. Illegal vending, pirate taxis, touting and other vices are the order of the day in the city, once referred to as the Sunshine City.
Addressing a stakeholders’ consultative meeting in Harare, Mohadi said there was need to upgrade dilapidated infrastructure in the central business district (CBD).
“Harare has become a menace with disorderly vendors, pirate taxis and more importantly dilapidated infrastructure,” he said.
The meeting was attended by stakeholders from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, City of Harare officials, transport industry representatives and the business community.
VP Mohadi urged Zimbabweans across the political divide to work together for the revitalisation of Harare.
“Harare is not the capital city of Zanu-PF or MDC,” he said. “It is the capital city of Zimbabwe. I am very alive to the political contestations characterising local governance.
“However, at this point we should set aside our political differences and focus on restoring Harare, a task which is in the country’s best interests.
“There is no Zanu-PF or MDC or other parties. We are not going to discuss or deliberate this based on political affiliations. We are talking about our capital city of Zimbabwe.”
VP Mohadi said a model plan for Harare, which is currently being looked at, would be replicated in all the cities across the country.
“We are not going to deal with Harare and forget other urban cities,” he said. “Cities such as Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, and Gweru are also in the same category.
“As we deliberate on how to restore Harare, let us not lose sight of the fact that we are setting a good precedence to other local authorities across the country. It is a precedence they will definitely replicate in their respective areas of jurisdiction as cities.”
The remarks by VP Mohadi comes a fortnight after police shot and killed two people in the CBD as they tried to enforce order by barring commuter omnibuses from picking passengers at illegal points.
The city council has been battling to remove illegal vendors and pirate taxis from the Central Business District without any success. – state media