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woman killed during Mbare market demonstration
Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa
September 23, 2009
A seventy-year old Harare
woman was killed on Monday when informal traders demonstrating against
the closure of market stalls in Mbare were stoned by a group of
rowdy youths. Martha Chitambira is reported to have taken part in
a demonstration led by the Zimbabwe Home Industries and Markets
Association. Unidentified youths, suspected of trying to take advantage
of the protest and steal from the protestors, then threw stones
at their victims. Chitambira sustained head injuries and died on
admission at Harare Hospital.
Family spokesman Crispen
Chitambira made an appeal for the person responsible to own up.
He told the state owned ZBC, 'I'm appealing to the culprit
to come forward so that we can help him pray to ease his conscience.
We have lost a great pillar of the family.' Police spokesman
Inspector James Sabau has confirmed the arrest of 12 suspects in
connection with the murder. He said the demonstration had been sanctioned
by police and they were still trying to establish the motives of
the youths who disrupted it.
the chairperson of the Combined
Harare Residents Association (CHRA) told Newsreel the issue
of the market stalls involved several government ministers and ZANU
PF officials. He accused local government minister Ignatius Chombo
and ZANU PF Women's League boss Oppah Muchinguri of owning
several market stalls and sub-letting them for a hefty profit. He
said the Harare City Council was only getting about 1 percent of
the proceeds from the market stalls.
This month CHRA issued
a statement exposing how Chombo wrote a letter to the City's
Director of Housing, Justin Chivavaya, to reserve twelve market
stands at Mupedzanhamo flea market in Mbare. The letter was written
on the 17th March, after the councilors had raised the issue of
the unfair allocation of market stands in Harare. CHRA also revealed
that some former members of the Harare Commission, plus government
and high ranking City of Harare officials, have multiple stands
at Mupedzanhamo and Machipisa markets, which they are sub-letting
to desperate residents.
It is further alleged
that several stands have been allocated to 'ghost occupants'
when in fact they are being run by senior politicians in ZANU PF.
The Harare City council is cracking down on the problem and the
closure of the markets is seen as a first step towards cleaning
up and verifying who owns and runs the market stalls.
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