A City of Harare councillor on Friday claimed that the Joint Operations Command (JOC) is blocking the reopening of the Mupedzanhamo flea market in Mbare.
JOC is the supreme organ for the coordination of State security in the country and comprises officers drawn from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS).
Harare City Council’s Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) committee chairperson, Councillor Denford Ngadziore (CCC) told NewsDay that JOC blocked the reopening of the flea market to prevent violence. He said:
As Harare City Council, we are worried because JOC stopped the opening of the Mupedzanhamo flea market recently. They said they are avoiding violence.
A meeting was held at the Harare Metropolitan secretary Tafadzwa Muguti’s office, where JOC shot down proposals to reopen the flea market.
We had hoped to open the flea market in October. We think that it is the right time to open the market after we talked to all the warring parties.
We wanted the market to have been opened before the festive season so that traders could benefit.
Ngadziore said they would continue to engage relative authorities, including the police to ensure that vendors resume their activities.
However, the national spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Ngadziore’s claims were baseless.
He said, “these issues are co-ordinated by Harare Metropolitan provincial secretary” and councillors should not tarnish the image of the police.
Muguti yesterday declined to comment on the matter when he was contacted by NewsDay.
Mupedzanhamo flea market has been closed for years now and vendors had resorted to using the open space outside the market to sell their wares.
A few weeks ago, violent clashes broke out between alleged space barons from ZANU PF and CCC fighting for control of the lucrative vending stalls.