ONGWEDIVA – The Namibian Police in Omusati Region has distanced itself from reports of an alleged fracas between the police and street vendors at Outapi yesterday as it was widely publicised on social media.
“Our Crime Prevention Officers were called for assistance, but they did not intervene, they were monitoring the situation from across the road,” said the Omusati Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Titus Shikongo.
New Era understands the police did not interfere into the operations of the Outapi Town Council and only came to the scene to prevent violence and to ensure law and order prevails.
The widely publicised fracas involved about seven street vendors and security guards contracted by the Outapi Town Council to ensure there are no street vendors selling at undesignated points.
The security guards were recruited following a resolution taken last November 5, for all street vendors to move from the streets to the designated open markets at the town.
The vendors were also accused of throwing their own food out to the ground, something the group leader refuted.
“It is not true, the food items fell to the ground during the scuffle with the guards,” Helvi Shilongo said.
Shilongo said a security guard struck her with a fork leaving her with an injury to the leg and is due to open a criminal case.
Shilongo refuted claims she was instigating other vendors in order to recruit them to join the Popular Democratic Movement where she is a member.
“I have been selling since 2004 and I have been the ring leader all these years. Those are just people talking to score political points and deny what they have done,” Shilongo shot back.
Commissioner Shikongo said there were goods confiscated by the town council, however, the vendors stormed into the council office to claim their goods back.
The CEO of the town Ananias Nashilongo said the town has eight existing open markets of which four are private.
He said it is disturbing to note only a few people from all street vendors are refusing to operate from the open market.
Despite the available open markets, the vendors charged that they have applied for space at the open market yet their applications were unsuccessful.
Last year November, there was a squabble between the police and about 100 street vendors at the same town.