Don't touch vendors, MDC warns govt

HARARE - The main opposition MDC yesterday warned the government to not use unconstitutional means to deal with hundreds of thousands of vendors that authorities want off the streets by Friday next week.

MDC spokesman Obert Gutu said as "the so-called deadline" for vendors to move away from the streets or face unspecified action approached, "we call upon the Zanu PF regime to desist from employing unconstitutional and illegal methods when dealing with street traders.

"The MDC calls upon all local authorities that we control to hold formal, detailed discussions with the vendor associations in each urban area and to agree on the way forward. In no way should the municipal police be used in any exercise to ban traders from urban areas," he said.

President Robert Mugabe's controversial wife Grace okayed the chaotic trade by vendors in urban areas in March -- and their numbers have since shot up in the past few months, amid rising poverty levels, rapid de-industrialisation and shocking levels of unemployment which is all blamed on Zanu PF's misrule.

There was widespread consternation among the poor when Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo told a news conference in Harare recently that street vendors were being given a seven day ultimatum to "regularise their operations".

Chombo was supported by a senior military officer, Brigadier General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwa from the Joint Operations Command -- which comprises service chiefs from the army, air force, police, prisons and intelligence -- who went on to issue a warning to anyone "entertaining the idea of resisting" the move.

Not only have authorities since backed down from using security agents in the mooted exercise, Sithembiso Nyoni -- the Small to Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development minister -- also later extended the deadline to June 26, saying this had been prompted by the need to have a smooth transition to new and approved trading sites.

“What the ministry has come up with is a holistic approach to the vendor issue that is going to address the short term, medium term and long term economic plight of the informal sector,” she said.

The MDC, which controls the majority of local authorities in the country, said it supported the right of vendors to make a living for themselves and their families.

"As such, the party will do everything within its power to provide vendors with recognition, protection and security in their places of trade.

"The MDC will regularise the activities of vendors by granting them licences to operate in return for a nominal fee that is currently set at $1 a day.

"The MDC will also negotiate with the recognised representatives of vendors in order to come up with the right conditions under which vendors can undertake their business activities.

"We will endeavour to provide shelter and toilet facilities for all street traders and as the country’s largest and most popular political party. We will not cooperate with any attempts to violate the rights of vendors," Gutu said.

Harare City Council has so far identified 14 sites where vendors will operate from in a move expected to bring some semblance of sanity to the now unsightly capital which used to be known as the Sunshine City because of its beauty and cleanliness.

“The points include Fourth Street, Crisp and Seke, the open ground at City Sports Centre, Luna Park, the holding bay and another to be established in the eastern part of Harare," Tendai Mahachi, the Harare town clerk said.

"We are geared to ensuring there is proper vending. Other countries have rationalised vending and we too want to follow suit,” he said.

Comments (11)

Thats very correct we do not just promise action when we do not look at what brought the situation.these vendors are there because the council left it happen and the first lady became a patron as she okayed it.Now its unbecoming due to the high tension emanating from losing ends of our economy.Can we honestly blame the vendors for the disorder in our cities?

carson macate - 18 June 2015

"largest and most popular party".........whatever these guys are smoking..I WANT SOME

changara - 18 June 2015

One wonders what these people want to do . They want a clean city . But if you pass by state house you will see dirty the durawall which was built by Smith is still the same everytihing is falling apart look at govt cars from those used by soldiers to police all is dirty very dirty . zanu HQ very dirty . the country drinking water is the dirtiest in africa so what is it that these people are talking about when they created dirty and forcing us to eat it daily . The only solution is to remove zanu so that dirty does not continue piling up in ths country .

Diibulaanyika - 18 June 2015

Changara, are you arguing the fact that MDC-T is the largest and most popular party ? what are your facts?

Jackson - 18 June 2015

Changara, when you do get whatever the MDC guys are smoking, please share with me! Can anyone in their right senses condone the chaos that vending has visited in our towns? Clearly Gutu's problem is typical delusions of grandeur

Zibeko zikaMgabhi - 18 June 2015

I think most of the commentators in this paper lack analytical minds. They just see ZANU and MDC. The issue that must be addressed is our character as Zimbabweans. We continue to think in terms of those big companies like LONRHO, ANGLO AMERICA, LEVER BROTHERS etc. Those models of businesses are gone and will never come back. It is us Zimbabweans who have to come up with new models of business based on our situations, needs, available resources. Whatever we do must be done in an orderly and clean manner. We lose opportunities because we always think that a bad situation is caused by somebody else and only foreign things are good. We should be having some of us starting industries to process the products that are creating this vending challenge. It is proof others are producing but we are lacking entrepreneurial industrialists. Where are those that enjoy the status of captains of industry?

fortune - 18 June 2015

Morgan akatonga mavendor anopera muharare. vazhinji vanenge vakutamba tsoro kumaindustry vachitsvaga basa because makambani anenge avhura. we want varungu kuti vatipe mawages akanyorwa pa payslip ka ndokuti economy yanaka. cde Morgan rambai makashinga, zveindeginisation izvi hazviite izvi, toda murungu pamberi imi murimuoffice, zvinofamba

ba rue - 18 June 2015

Morgan akatonga mavendor anopera muharare. vazhinji vanenge vakutamba tsoro kumaindustry vachitsvaga basa because makambani anenge avhura. we want varungu kuti vatipe mawages akanyorwa pa payslip ka ndokuti economy yanaka. cde Morgan rambai makashinga, zveindeginisation izvi hazviite izvi, toda murungu pamberi imi murimuoffice, zvinofamba

ba rue - 18 June 2015

If somebody can workout how corruption should be stopped in ZIM at the moment, then that person will be my real hero.Diamond rakapera pasina charashanda, plenty of multiple farm owners, land barons, illegal vendors be levied by individuals all the happening in the name of a single party.

Pilsener - 18 June 2015

Forget uyu wetax clearance/company registration, get the hell OUT of Zimbabwe.

Absolom - 18 June 2015

As authorities you need to be reasonable. There are several questions you need to ask yourselves one of which is , why did the vendors leave the designated vending sites in the first place? Hence, this issue is more than what meets the eye.These knew sites you want to create will not mitigate this issue. I advice you to do a complete research before you waste resources. Just to bring in an irony, the holding bay is now becoming a vending site.

darkblood - 19 June 2015

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