No Xmas to celebrate: Vendors

HARARE - Vendors say they will continue with their business as usual, despite the Christmas and New Year holidays.

This comes as most Zimbabweans’ holiday mood has been dampened by the escalating economic crisis, with scores struggling to get their hard-earned money from banks — waiting hours on end in cash queues.

National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairperson, Sten Zvorwadza told the Daily News that the informal traders had nothing to celebrate as they were worried about “their children’s school fees and rentals”.

He blamed President Robert Mugabe for the troubles, saying the 92-year-old leader “has no respect for the people of Zimbabwe”.

“As vendors, we can’t afford to travel to our rural homes for holiday because of cash shortages. Most of our members will do their business as usual not because they do not value the holidays but because their pockets are empty,” Zvorwadza said

“It’s so sad that while we are struggling to survive, the president and his family are holidaying outside the country,” the fierce anti-Mugabe activist said.

Mugabe — who is in the habit of taking long-haul, first-class flights at the public’s expense — is on the first leg of a five-week holiday in the Far East.

Observers say the hardships afflicting Zimbabwe have reduced the country to a nation of vendors, with everyone trying to hustle for survival.

Pavements of almost every street in Harare’s CBD are clogged by vendors’ wares — mobile phone recharge cards, vegetables, clothes, traditional herbs and skin lightening creams.

And instead of attending to the country’s worsening political and soci-economic crises, the ruling Zanu PF is embroiled in mindless factional bloodletting.

Zvorwadza also condemned police brutality against vendors.

“Navuz has for the whole year recorded several cases of abuse of vendors by riot police who have also taken these raids as an opportunity to loot goods from vendors as some of the confiscated goods were never recovered by their rightful owners,” he said.

“We condemn in the strongest sense the continued militarisation of Zimbabwe. On numerous occasions, Navuz has tried to engage government so as to come up with a sustainable solution to the issue of vending but government has totally failed to listen to our concerns as shown by their move to unleash riot police on vendors in Harare’s Central Business District.”

According to Zvorwadza — who has been arrested and brutalised countless times by police while protesting — government has shown a complete disregard for citizens’ socio-economic rights.

“Political bigwigs continue to loot national resources for personal aggrandisement while the majority wallow in abject poverty and the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans has been worsened by the fact that government has introduced a raft of measures that have worsened the plight of Zimbabweans who have turned to the informal sector as a result of high levels of unemployment,” he said.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.