Gerehu’s informal traders hit by armed policemen

National, Normal

The National, Monday 23rd January 2012

INFORMAL traders operating outside Gerehu’s busy shopping centres were sent scurrying for cover when a police vehicle with armed policemen visited the area.
Makeshift stalls were turned over and burnt. Goods from phone cards to betelnut and store goods were overturned and flung in all directions.
Bystanders had a field day rushing for the items.
Traders from Jiwaka, Southern Highlands, Enga and Gulf later informed this newspaper that some K10,000 worth of goods were removed.
Gerehu police said managers of the Bismilla shopping complex had complained of the operators to the police. But the shop management later told the vendors that it never lodged any police complaint.
Magaret Kisip said: “This is the only way we make a living. We keep the place clean. Our presence ensures that there is no crime such as car thefts or bag snatching.
“Before we came, this was a very bad place and the shops used to shut their doors by mid afternoon.
“The police can come and tell us to pack up our wares and go away and we will do so. They do not have to scatter our goods in all directions as if we are criminals.
“If the shops have complained, they must know that they control the bulk of the customers. In fact we are their customers. They do not have to clean up every little toea and leave us poor. Where will we get our means of income from?”
The group said it would front up to City Hall and ask for a refund of the goods.