The Herald (Harare)
July 18, 2006
POLICE in Harare on Sunday rounded up more than 50 street kids in a move meant to combat crime in and around the city centre.
In an interview yesterday, Harare provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Memory Pamire said the rounding up of the street kids was part of an ongoing operation aimed at bringing back sanity in the city.
Some of the street children that were rounded up during the clean-up campaign escaped from the farms and homes where they were relocated under Operation Murambatsvina.
Asst Insp Pamire said people should desist from giving the street kids and beggars money because they usually buy intoxicating beverages, thereby inciting violence and eventually disturbing peace as they harass the public.
‘The number of children living on the streets is increasing because of the money they get from people.
‘We are appealing to the public not to give them money because we have noted that doing so would be encouraging them to remain on the streets,’ she said.
‘These children need basic rights like education, shelter and health facilities,’ said Asst Insp Pamire.
Asst Insp Pamire also said people should help the poor, but they have to go through the right channels such as the Department of Social Welfare so that the street kids can be assisted in a proper way.
Most street children who have been rounded up for more than five times since May last year have developed a habit of coming back to the streets.
Street kids countrywide are in the habit of harassing the public, especially women and stealing valuables from them.
Last Friday, The Herald crew witnessed six street kids snatch a woman’s valuables in a flash along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in the city centre.
The woman who identified herself as Pamela Chokudya lost a handbag worth $10 million containing a 3220 Nokia handset worth $60 million, $5 million cash, a plastic bag of groceries and a gold necklace she was wearing.
The police confirmed the incident and urged the public to work with them to remove children from the streets so as to reduce crime.
The public has hailed the move by the police but they hope for a lasting solution to the problem of street kids and beggars.
Police are targeting street children, illegal vendors, illegal foreign currency dealers and touts.