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‘Resurrect Chidawu to help you’ – Muguti tells Harare widows

A group of widows and young women from Harare have written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa accusing Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary Tafadzwa Muguti of blocking their small businesses in the capital city.

In a letter dated 11 November 2022, a group called Widows for Economic Development (WED) told the President that Muguti blocked them from using Park Street Weekend Market despite the existence of a court order allowing them to do so.

They said Muguti stubbornly told them that they should resurrect the late Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs and Devolution Oliver Chidawu who allowed them to use the market space during the weekend.

“Since the unfortunate passing on of the late Honorable Oliver Chidawu, the Park Street Weekend Market has been under siege from the very people who never liked the concept.

“We have been receiving numerous threats to close the market notwithstanding that there is an extant court order protecting our continued operation at Park Street,” read the letter.

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“The threats got to the most deplorable levels when the Harare Metropolitan Provincial Coordinator Mr. Muguti told us in our face, at a recent meeting with him that if we wanted to remain at Park Street we should go and resurrect the late Honorable Oliver Chidawu from the National Heroes Acre.

“This came as a shock to us, as we never expected such disparaging remarks from a senior government official who had worked all these years under the leadership of the late Honorable Oliver Chidawu.

“If he did not like the fact that the late was supportive of the Weekend Market, at least he should have shown respect for the dead.

“Whilst the late Cde. Oliver Chidawu was supportive of the Weekend Market concept, this market was not for his personal benefit but for the benefit of poor widows and youths in Harare, whom we should be mobilizing to be part of the 5 million votes for your Excellency next year.”

The women said they were shocked on the Saturday of 17 September 2022 when a heavily armed police in riot gear descended on Park Street Weekend Market and ordered everyone to pack their wares and go.

They added that they “tried to no avail to make the police see reason, showing the police details of our papers that include a court order but were referred to Mr. Tafadzwa Muguti instead.

“We could have rushed to court to seek protection as we are in possession of a valid court order but decided against that option since Mr. Tafadzwa Muguti purported to be acting in your name.

“We felt that a legal route would unduly drag your name into the mud particularly when there is an important United Nations General Assembly on the horizon, where the country’s detractors would not miss a chance to drag your name and the country into the ground.

“The weekend market concept resonates well with goals 5 and 10 of the United Nations Sustainability Goals, namely gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, and reducing inequality within the country.

“There was thus a real possibility that once our predicament went into the public domain, it was going to be used by the country’s detractors to disparage and disrespect you at the UNGA event. We thus opted to bring this issue to your attention outside the public glare.

“We were humiliated and beaten in public by the Police with the result that old and ailing women trying to make an honest living were injured,” the group said

Mnangagwa is yet to respond.