ZANU PF members yesterday clashed with members of an apostolic sect after party members forcibly tried to grab vending bays from Joshua Nkomo street to Fife Street along 5th Avenue in Bulawayo.
When the Southern eye crew arrived at the scene, there was pushing and shoving as they jostled for marked vending bays, with municipal police struggling to contain the situation that was fast blowing out of hand.
Some Zanu PF members in party regalia claimed they deserved to occupy the vending bays while members of the apostolic sect claiming the space was reserved for them.
One of the vendors, who only identified himself as Tendai said the place was reserved for apostolic sect members.
“This place had been closed because of the lockdown and before that, it belonged to Vapostori.
“That is why you see that there are a lot of Vapostori here.
“We got here early in the morning and we were surprised that bays are now being forcibly taken by Zanu PF members. We will not allow this to happen,” he fumed.
Mayor Solomon Mguni condemned the clashes.
“We condemn, in the strongest sense, the actions by a section of Zanu PF youths who took the law into their own hands by barricading sections of 5th Avenue from Joshua Nkomo Street to Fife Street, marking and allocated each other vending bays on a public road,” he said.
“Council is working on a government policy to decongest the central business district and decentralise fresh produce markets to suburban areas.
“Such conduct is counterproductive and can only serve to further polarise the city and its people. This has a potential to lead to lawlessness and public violence and confrontational politics.”
Mguni said no political party had a right to allocate vending bays, insisting such a task was the responsibility of council.
Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Obert Msindo said he was not aware of the clashes.
“I am not aware of the issue,” he said.