POLICE in Bulawayo at the weekend rounded up homeless people and vagrants in an operation that appears targeted at removing street people ahead of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which begins in the city on Tuesday.
The weekend exercise has seen hundreds of homeless people and vagabonds being rounded up and detained at Bulawayo central police station.
Police have since Tuesday last week been rounding up vagrants and illegal foreign currency dealers from the streets.
Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, however refuted claims that the arrests were linked to the trade fair but said this was a routine exercise aimed at eradicating crime around the country.
“This is a routine exercise we are carrying out and illegal vendors and vagrants who are caught committing crimes are arrested, it has nothing to do with the ZITF,” Bvudzijena said.
Questioned on the fate of the vagrants, the majority of whom have failed to pay admission of guilt fines, Bvudzijena said if people are found to be guilty they either have to pay a fine or challenge their arrest in court.
“The vagrants will have to pay an applicable admission of guilt fine unless they opt to go to court and stand trial for whatever crime they would have been arrested for,” Bvudzijena said. Police have been working hand in hand with the municipal police in the exercise that has seen the two teams invading sanitary lanes and dragging out vagrants and homeless people who use the backstreets as temporary homes.
Bulawayo City Council spokesperson, Pathisa Nyathi, confirmed the involvement of the municipal police and said the council was only giving a helping hand to the police in the exercise. — Staff Writer.