JUST IN: Vendors defy lockdown restrictions

The Herald

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter

POLICE efforts to enforce national lockdown regulations have hit a snag at Warren Park Shopping Centre in Harare, as vendors continue defying the restrictions to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

It has now become a new normal for vendors and the police details to play the hide and seek “game” everyday, with the former seeking to eke out a living during this difficult period.

The national lockdown which has been extended to February 15, began on January 5, 2021, following a surge in number of infections and deaths during the festive period last month.

Vendors who spoke to The Herald vowed to continue running battles with the law enforcement agents until the Level- Four lockdown is reviewed.

“My brother, you cannot survive without food. We need to fend for our families,” said a vendor only identified as Mai Kudzi.

“I am not afraid to be arrested. What is important to me is to fend for my family.”

Another hawker Mike Magejo who sells none-essential wares at an undesignated area said life during this period of lockdown was difficult, especially if one is a family man.

“We are forced to come here knowing very well that we are breaking law, but we need to pay rent, feed our families and without money how does one survive,” he said.

“We will continue playing hidr and seek with the police.”

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police position on those flouting the lockdown restrictions has not changed and warned the vendors that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.

“Vendors who are operating in flagrant disregard of the lockdown restrictions will definitely be arrested. We are not going back,” he said.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care Minister, last month announced a 30-day reversion from Level Two to Level Four for the national lockdown following a festive season surge in Covid-19 infections.

Under Level Four essential services, which include farming, along with mining and manufacturing can continue operating.

But the general retail trade, with the exception of supermarkets, food shops and outlets, and pharmacies is closed and that includes most of the informal sector.

The Herald