Rundu vendors pelt police with stones

17 September 2020 | Police

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU



Chaos erupted in Rundu on Monday afternoon when disgruntled vendors, forced to stop selling their wares at undesignated spots, started pelting police officers with stones.

The police, who were called in to stop vendors from selling near OK Foods store, were overpowered by an angry mob who forced them to flee.

Hurling insults and threats along with stones, the disgruntled vendors and their supporters then marched to the Rundu town council to loudly express their dissatisfaction.



Empty markets

The council wants the vendors to move to designated areas, such as several open markets around town that are standing empty.

On Monday afternoon, Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo said his office had intervened in the matter.

He said a meeting was held last week with town council officials, the police and the committee representing the street vendors.

Wakudumo said they agreed that the committee would inform its members to move by Friday, failing which the police would remove them from the streets.

But during Monday's chaos, the street vendors denied having agreed to any terms.

They said all they want is to trade on the streets.

At Tuesday's briefing, Wakudumo said he was convinced that an agreement had been reached at the meeting because everyone “was clapping hands and laughing happily”.

“So, to us we reached an agreement and they [the committee] were accorded an opportunity to speak freely, which they did to the extent that they themselves indicated that their members don't listen.”



Zero tolerance

At Tuesday's briefing, Rundu town council administrator Sebastian Kantema admitted that the council had failed to address the issue of street vendors, something he said had been left unresolved for years.

He was adamant that the council would no longer let the vendors do as they please, because the government had spent money on establishing the open markets and, therefore, they should be used.

“I think in the past we were too relaxed when people tried to resist,” Kantema said.

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