Vendors slam 'selfish' VP Mphoko, Chombo

HARARE - National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) yesterday slammed Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, branding the two Zanu PF officials selfish day-dreamers out of touch with reality.

Chombo over the weekend declared that vendors should be removed from the streets with immediate effect, arguing they were compromising health standards.

The minister’s decree comes hard on the heels of disparaging statements made by Mphoko, who decried the vending practice which has now become a last resort for the growing number of jobless people in towns and cities to make a living.

“I have got my own views regarding vending where you find an able bodied man seated selling tomatoes. There are better things to do for someone who is fit except for those who are indisposed and physically challenged,” the vice president said.

“You should wake up and see what you can do for a living. We cannot accept a man who is fit, sitting down and selling tomatoes. No, let’s do something better,” he said without suggesting an alternative.

A fired-up Sten Zvorwadza, chairman of Navuz, told a news conference that Chombo and Mphoko were out of order and their scurrilous statements against vendors were in bad taste.

“Navuz would like to unreservedly dismiss minister Chombo and his erstwhile transgression partner vice president Mphoko for making reckless and immature pronouncements about the vending enterprise in Zimbabwe,” Zvorwadza said.

“The two have finally confirmed our long-held fears that we have a selfish group of men and women running the affairs of this country.”

He said vendors would resist attempts to push them out of the streets.

“Navuz would like to state categorically that all moves and shenanigans aimed at forcefully removing vendors from their current vending sites, as being proposed by Chombo will be resisted vehemently,” he warned. 

“The army and police have no business in the regularisation of the vending enterprise in Zimbabwe.”

Zvorwadza said Chombo’s plan to create vending sites will not work.

“Throughout the country, the common problem relates to the identification and designation of inadequate vending sites that do not match the growing number of vendors plying their trade in the CBD areas,” he said.

“For instance, Harare has only 12 vending sites and the same can only accommodate a paltry 1 100 vendors when there are more than 20 000 vendors in Harare’s CBD area. Let’s focus on the fundamentals and do correct things.”

He said Mphoko should appreciate that there are a lot of vendors in the country because his government has failed to create the 2 million jobs it promised through its economic blueprint, ZimAsset.

“Where are the jobs that they promised under ZimAsset?” Zvorwadza asked rhetorically.

“If people were formally employed, would we have such high number of vendors?

“Mphoko and minister Chombo should be reminded that Zimbabweans both young and old are into vending not by choice but simply because the country has the highest and most embarrassing unemployment rate in the world.

“Surely, do we need to remind the ‘twins’ that with more than 90 percent unemployment rate, opportunities in the formal job market become extremely limited and oversubscribed, hence, vending naturally becomes an option.

“We urge the government to abandon their plans to fight with vendors without providing alternatives to millions of graduates.”

Comments (9)

Of course selling airtime, zhingzhongs and tomatoes is not a clever business idea but a whole vice president need not say that in public. He should have put it in a positive way. And on this one Chombo is right. If there are no jobs in town people should vacate.

selele - 4 February 2015

@sele you are only saying that because you are formally employed and not a vendor. Those vendors out there are trying to make a living whereas the govt promised 2.2 million jobs are only a pie in the sky.

pat - 4 February 2015

A VP preoccupied with issues about vendors??? Shame Mboko guy. Let bus throw tomatoes and eggs at their faces next time we Chombo, Mboko etc in city centres!!

Garikayi - 4 February 2015

If Mpoko and Chombo create 2m jobs as they promised during the time they were intimidating rural voters to vote for them last elections then the streets will be completely deserted . But if they were lying that they were going to create 2m jobs then vendors will create their own ways of making a living on streets without stealing from anyone like Chombo and Mpoko do. People if the streets are now only the places where we can do business then lets all move there lest we die of hunger every one must go and sell what ever they can on streets including fire wood, mature .live ngulube ,puppies until 2m jobs are created .

Diibulaanyika - 4 February 2015

This Mboko guy and Malawian Chombo do not know what they are talking about because they have been well rewarded without working for it resulting in them being foul-mouth. What alternatives have these two provided to the povo so that povo should not do vending? The few priviledged like Mboko and Chombo think the rest of the 13 million people have no brains and therefore to lazy to seek alternatives way to survive. You have been made special and therefore do not look down upon those you have disenfranchised.

gwaya - 5 February 2015

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