For the Attention of the Special Committee to investigate operations of markets in Harare
Date: 07 June 2019
Introduction: The City of Harare has set up a special committee to investigate the operations and
management of markets in Harare. The City council began a process of interviewing council officials,
individuals, and other stakeholders in order to gather data on the operations of markets on Monday
03 June 2019. District officers, Treasury officials, as well as the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) have to
appear before this committee to share experiences, observations and reports on the markets. As the
HRT we question the City council on how they have managed the markets before. The incomes and
expenditures, developments and improvements how have they dealt with them before the calling of
the special committee to investigate the issue. What went wrong with the way they were managing
the markets before and what made them to investigate the operations of markets, what have they
seen and also the objectives of carrying our this exercise? In view of these questions, the HRT sought
the views of its membership for guidance on submissions to make before the Special Committee,
chaired by Ward 19 Councillor Barnabas Ndira. A number of factors were found which include
corruption and partisanship when allocating stands for markets. Therefore this position paper
highlights the issues and makes some recommendations to the Council.
- Corruption: Council officials are corrupt in how they distribute or allocate markets to residents.
People who are close to the council officials or related to them are the ones who get space for
markets. To other residents the information is not even shared that there is open space for
markets to be rented. This means that for others who are not related to council officials for one to rent a space he or she must pay to the council officials. Also those related to council officials they own two or more spaces for markets. This disadvantage others a lot. There is need for fair allocation of these spaces. They must be advertised in our local papers and open for everyone. Markets must be restricted to one market per individual.
- Partisan: Market space is distributed depending on which political party you belong to.
Councillors distribute market space to their party supporters. Most councillors are doing things
in such a way like we are still in the campaigning era, yet they must move to the developmental
period. This disadvantages some residents at large who fail to acquire space for markets since
they do not actively participate in the same political parties with the councillors.
- Management of Income: The City of Harare itself is full of corruption in terms of how the
revenue from markets is being managed. The residents interviewed said there was no clarity on
how the revenue generated from the markets is accounted for. What is known however is that
most workers who worked at Mbare Bus Terminus and the Mbare Markets have accumulated
unexplained wealth linked to their jobs, yet council has not achieved much from the same
resources. There is no transparency in the cash flow of this income. Also the rates for the market
places are a bit low that promotes corruption. The rates are very affordable such that one
person is able to rent three or more spaces and then rent out these spaces to other individuals at a higher rate. So other individuals are making profit instead of the City council. The city council is therefore failing to manage the markets. City of Harare already has a huge sum of money in debtors. They are not following up their debtors to pay of that money, which is also a source of revenue.
- Developments of the markets: The city of Harare is not providing any developments to the
existing markets. No improvements or developments are taking place at market places like the one at Coca cola, in particular sanitation developments. There are insufficient toilets, water facilities to cater for the marketers. Another issue has to do with proper planning of these markets for instance at Mbare Musika there is need for proper arrangement of markets for hygienic purposes. At Mbare you find a saloon next to a food shop. City of Harare should engage with markers and strategize with them a marketing place where customers can easily access. The issue of market positions had made many vendors to rebel to the markets provided by city of Harare because customers do not reach such places. This results in City of Harare incurring a loss because most vendors now have opted to sell in prohibited places where they do not pay rates and when council police officers approach them they run away. Markets also require extension to cater for the citizens who want marketplaces. As it is everyone is becoming a vendor so there is need for expansion and opening of new markets. Key Recommendation: Use technology to process applications and allocations of market stalls to minimise human interaction, thus directly cutting down on corruption and space barons. Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,08677109781, 0772 278 307 and 0772 869 294/0772 380 927, www.hrt.org.zw