Zimbabwe's opposition, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) party, has reportedly accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of "betraying the hopes of Zimbabweans" of people following the recent decision by his government to "unleash soldiers on vendors and commuter operators in Harare".
News Day reported this week that street vendors in Harare and Mutare cried foul on Monday after they were forcibly driven off their illegal vending sites in the city during a combined cleansing operation involving the military, municipal and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Unregistered taxi operators were also not spared in the exercise code-named "Operation Restore Sanity", which was simultaneously rolled out in all major cities and towns, the report said.
This was apparently a campaign that former president Robert Mugabe had also pushed for just before his resignation on November 21.
Mugabe had complained that roads in central Harare, including the one named after him, were dirty and overcrowded with illegal street traders who blocked traffic.
"We must clear the roads," Mugabe was quoted as saying at the time.
But according to New Zimbabwe.com, responding to the developments on Monday, the Tendai Biti led PDP said that the new regime had thrown away an opportunity to "restart, rethink and reconfigure".
PDP said that the deployment of soldiers on the vendors coupled with the appointment of questionable characters back in cabinet was a sign of the new administration’s choice.
"Sadly, the deployment of soldiers against vendors... is a betrayal of that narrative. Power in democratic societies is based on persuasion as an instrument to rally the citizen behind you," the PDP party was quoted as saying.
The party said that Mnangagwa's government had "misinterpreted the dislike for police brutality as a desire for military brutality".
Thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets last month, in support of the country's military takeover which ushered in Mnangagwa as the country's new leader.