HARARE - Zimbabwe has literally been reduced to a country of vendors, as the economy continues on a downward spiral.
From professionals to the unemployed youths in the ghetto, everyone is trying to sell something to survive.
Around the streets of Harare, scores of young men and women are either selling airtime cards, vegetables, clothes, traditional herbs or skin lightening creams.
The streets have become littered with card board boxes, making them difficult to navigate during peak hours.
The capital, Harare for instance, has been transformed into a cardboard box city, with pavements littered with makeshifts stalls made by vendors.
With the biting economy and the liquidity crunch, corruption has also increased, further pulling the country down the drain.
Most of the vendors, though educated, cannot find formal employment.
According to economists, the country’s unemployment rates hovering above 80 percent, while the country struggles to deal with the liquidity crunch.
Economic expert Takura Mugaga said the current situation prevailing in the capital shows the height of disorganisation and ineffectiveness of the Harare City Council.
“They are failing to manage the city,” Mugaga said, adding that the Harare City Council was supposed to build more market stalls, to accommodate a large number of vendors.
Industries and several retail companies have shut down, with investors shunning the country due to its policy inconsistency.
This has forced the country to lose foreign direct investment, making the situation dire for the general public.
Mugaga said people are in a survival mode, as they have been driven by poverty on to the streets.
“They are trying to make ends meet,” he said.
Mugaga said government should create employment by revisiting their policies so that they revitalise closed industries and support the manufacturing sector.
While, the economy continues in its downward spiral, the general populace is trying what it can to cushion itself from the tough times.
As the number of people vending continues to increase, those people with cash to buy, on the other hand is dwindling.
There is little cash circulating on the market, and analysts are predicting doom for the country if the economic situation remains unabated.
Analysts believe the current situation has serious repercussions in the near future.
Mugaga said if the situation persists, Zimbabwe will become another weak African country that will experience a fast urban decay, subsequently leading to the relocation of the capital city.
It seems government has no way of controlling the ballooning number of vendors in city centres, as it is failing to create the two million jobs promised during the build up to last year’s highly contested election.
The broke Zanu PF-led government is still battling to get a footing for its economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), which requires well over $20 billion.
The circumstances have created desperate situations, which have culminated into a laissez faire, economic scenario.
The disorder and anarchy that has engulfed Harare’s Central Business District is a sure sign of the country in decay.
Harare, once called the sunshine city, has since lost its lustre to become a pale shadow of its former self.
The mushrooming of street vendors has reached unprecedented levels, with most of them playing cat and mouse games with council officials.
But who can blame the vendors?
Even those employed have also joined the bandwagon of sellers.
The market has been flooded, shrinking in the process and making it difficult for sellers to find customers.
This is a sure sign of the state of affairs in the country, putting pressure on the government to act quickly to resolve the economic situation, which is slowly going out of hand.
There is no money that is being forwarded to the country’s fiscus by way of taxes or otherwise, meaning the economy, will continue struggling.