HARARE’S First Street Mall now resembles a giant outdoor vendors mega market.
Every morning, people are greeted by the sight of street vendors selling food, fruit and clothing to those who pass through the mall.
There is a lot of energy as the vendors try to lure clients into their corner in what is a cut-throat battle for business.
However, beneath the surface of this seemingly vibrant market lies a serious health risk.
The filthy conditions, created by the food and fruit vendors, pose a significant threat to the city residents especially now as the capital battles another cholera outbreak.
There are insufficient waste disposal facilities along the mall.
This means the vendors have nowhere to dispose of their waste, which accumulates on the street.
0The waste attracts flies, which then carry disease-causing bacteria from one place to another.
The vendors’ handling of food is also a concern.
Very little is considered in terms of ensuring that the food is handled in a hygienic way.
Many just use their unwashed hands as they hand out food to clients.
The street vendors seemingly appear oblivious to the risks posed by their unhygienic practices.
The situation is further worsened by the lack of enforcement of hygiene regulations by the Harare City Council.
The vendors are allowed to sell their products, including food, without any supervision.
H-Metro has established that there seems to be very little concern, among the municipal police, about the threat which all this poses.
“Maybe, the municipal police know that the majority of us do not have the kind of money which we can pay, let’s say in bribes, in the event we are caught on the wrong side, as is the case with motorists,” said a vendor.
“They probably know that we have very little capacity to pay them and that probably explains why they don’t really care about us.
“The point is that we are just trying to make ends meet in a tough world.
“We are aware of the risks posed, especially when it comes to food, but we try our best to make sure that we handle it properly.”
Another vendor, who only identified himself as Makombera, told H-Metro he has been playing hide-and-seek with the Harare Municipal Police.
“Pakaipa wangu, kutsvaga kurarama todii?
“Unosungwa uchidzoka kana tavekuzivana unongomupfumbatisa okusiya,” he said.