Court rules Zimbabwe cannot use force to drive out vendors

AP News
Posted: Jun 08, 2015 1:17 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwean troops may not use force to oust thousands of street vendors, the high court ruled on Monday, effectively neutralizing the government's threat to clear the streets.

Last week, officials gave vendors until Sunday to move, threatening to send in the army if they did not heed the deadline.

Vendors around the capital city Harare haven't budged however, with most saying they were adopting a "wait-and-see" approach to the government's ultimatum.

On Monday, city officials extended the deadline to Jun. 26 and promised to work with vendors, Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi told the Associated Press.

He said that once the deadline expires, however, police would still move the vendors.

The council has space for 6,000 vendors but about 20,000 are operating within the central business district, Mahachi said.

The extra time would be used to allocate stalls to the vendors, said Sithembiso Nyoni, the enterprises and development minister.