An informal trader’s market in Chitungwiza could possibly become a cesspit of infectious diseases if left unattended by the municipality.
Jambanja market, most famous for the bustle and hustle of the town’s informal sector is a ticking health time bomb.
Thousands of people meet here and business ticks all year round.
Apart from being a breeding ground of diseases, it also has the potential to become a crime and violence hotspot – and home to the invisible enemy – COVID 19.
With the increasing number of COVID 19 cases – Jambanja market is a health hazard rearing its ugly head and waiting to strike.
The dirt and grime here are pervasive. The stench is offensive to the sensitive nostril.
At Jambanja market, the noise of hagglers rules.
Quick thinking and a keen awareness of market trends makes or breaks lives and if you snooze you lose.
But traders at this market are tempting Covid -19 carnage.
For the past seven years after cat-moussing with law enforcers, the traders have finally found a thriving market here after having moved from one place to another in the same area.
Is There a Plan?
The market which has been operating illegally for more than 10 years could possibly be regularised for both formal and informal business.
The Municipality’s Clerk Mr Tonderai Kasu said they have plans to make Jambanja the biggest open market in Chitungwiza.
He also says the municipality is concerned by the activities currently underway at this site.
“We have made our position clear, the activities at this market are illegal and it’s unacceptable,” he said in an interview with this reporter.
While the market might be illegal, residents, vendors and some informal traders are concerned by the unruly behaviour of law enforcers among them, police.
Traders we spoke to said riot police are always coming to disturb their business and only recently a man was shot in the leg after trying to escape a raid.
“Police come here and ask us for bribes so that we can do our business, it’s sickening and they should stop that,” said an agitated vendor who does vegetables at this market.
Corruption within the police force has become a cancer that is slowly eating the very social fibre that keeps society intact.
Recently two senior police officers appeared before the courts after being charged with corrupt activities.
The Municipality has issued prohibition and enforcement orders against land and space barons that are in the process of illegally invading council property.
Mr Kasu said the illegal invasion of council land has been going on for long and has caused detrimental carnage to the town and its residents.
“Anyone that defies or fails to comply with these enforcement and prohibition orders shall face criminal prosecution,” he said.
Jambanja Market has already been identified by the Municipality as one of the sites for the Municipality’s Urban Renewal Agenda Programme.
“The Municipality has already made a public call for expressions of interest from those that are interested in partnering the Municipality in the renovation, refurbishment and development of Jambanja Market,” said Kasu.
He also added that the Municipality intends to turn Jambanja Market into a clean, smart and modern facility for the benefit of our residents and our community,” he said.
But in the meantime, Covid-19 is real and Jambanja is a scary offer to the fatal virus.