Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi yesterday said that the army will not move in to drive illegal vendors out of cities and towns.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo gave illegal vendors until Sunday to move to legal vending sites or out of urban centres, a move that was roundly condemned by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai said Chombo had no constitutional right to drive out the vendors as this was the responsibility of local authorities.
Chombo said the army would be called in if the vendors resisted.
“There will be no involvement of the army,” Sekeramayi told The Herald in Kuwadzana yesterday. “The responsibility is that of the ministries of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development and if there are problems they will go to the police.”
Chombo’s directive is being viewed as another Operation Murambatsvina, a clean-up exercise that was carried out by the government in 2005 which resulted in the destruction of so-called illegal structures across the country. It left more than 700 000 displaced.
Some of the vendors have vowed to defy the directive.