Two weeks ago the government announced that Mbudzi Roundabout would be shut down as construction on the project continues. Those who had houses around the area were compensated. Vendors who thronged the high foot traffic intersection however were left in a lurch as they were chased away by vendors. Space barons who claim to be connected have since emerged around the Mbudzi roundabout. They are “allocating” tables and spaces for vendors to sell their wares undisturbed by the police and demanding bribes as high as US$1200 for the privilege.

Displaced vendors have complained that they were never told that they would have to move in order to pave way for construction. Some said even though space barons are now demanding new bribes to allocate them new selling spaces to put their tables, they had already paid for the spaces they were chased from.

We paid for the spaces here. The space barons demanded US$30 to US$1 200. Those who wanted tables were asked to pay US$30 and US$100. Those operating from areas built in brick paid US$1 200 for the space. Now the police are coming in and are taking away our goods, including food and cash. How are we supposed to survive?

…The authorities knew that they were supposed to relocate informal traders who were working from the area around the Mbudzi roundabout. We are seeing a lot of corruption now happening, and a lot of violence

What one vendor had to say

Vending space at Mbudzi roundabout is often allocated by touts who claim to be politically connected. These touts often receive monthly bribes from vendors in return for “protection” from the police and municipal authorities. S

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