Mutare city under fire for the parceling flea market to political parties

By Clayton Masekesa and Jussa Kudherezera

THE Mutare Informal Traders Association (MITA) is up in arms with Mutare City Council’s resolution of parceling out flea market tables to political parties. The MITA president, Itai Kariparire, had guns blazing over the 29 September 2021 resolution that was passed by council, which allocated 50 tables each at Chidzere Flea Market in the central business district to the MDC A, MDC T and ZANU PF. “I am not happy with the outcome of the full council meeting held yesterday (29 September 2021) pertaining the allocation of new traders at Chidzere Flea Market.

“I am surprised by this type of behavior by our councilors and management. Why didn’t they tell us that traders must not apply to the housing department but join political parties as a route to get tables,” said Kariparire. He said 666 people applied for tables from last year to date. “Some people can think that they can just jump the queue and become beneficiaries. The remaining 198 tables are left for 666 people who had applied since last year,” he said.

“As MITA we are not happy with this move and we are against it to the bone. A clear process is that a trader applies for the table through the Housing Director and that is the department that allocates tables,” Kariparaire explained.

“This will not happen and we will not allow that political parties must not take Chidzere flea market or any other market as a campaigning tool. When did a full council start allocating tables? If this issue of giving tables to political parties goes on, let me remind councilors that MITA will not keep quiet to this abuse of office. When you become a councilor, you must serve the interests of the electorate and Mutare at large not your political party,” he said.

The Minister of State for Manicaland Province Nokhutula Matsikenyere wrote a letter, in our possession, to Mutare City
Acting Town Clerk Tinashe Mutetwa with a list of 160 party members selected for flea markets registration and allocation.

The letter dated 14 September 2021 and signed by Matsikenyere read:
“The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable N. Matsikenyere is kindly requesting for the allocation of flea market for the under listed youths. Your usual assistance will be greatly appreciated.”

In an interview, Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi said the council was going to stick to its resolution. “As we speak, I am coming from a meeting with the Resident Minister (Matsikenyere) and she is insisting on the letter she wrote. As
a council we are going to stick to our resolution that we made,” he said.

“We are going to implement the resolution.  We will be giving out the tables to the political parties representing the political
constituency so that we have a balanced equation,” Tandi explained.

“The remainder of the tables will be given to those that applied and registered there are no two ways about that. Everybody is a Zimbabwean and should benefit from their resources,” said the Mayor.

However, concerned residents have said the allocation of the tables must be done according to registration. “We need all those that registered to be allocated the stands,” said a resident. Investigations done have revealed that some Zanu PF party youths will be the major beneficiaries.

The Chidzere Flea Market was supposed to be opened last month, but the chaos surrounding the allocation has seen the flea market closed to this date. The move has infringed the economic rights of the citizens.

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