Typhoid outbreak: Vendors resist ban

HARARE - Harare vendors are resisting the move by government to ban fruit and vegetable hawking arguing it is insensitive to the struggling poor.

National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairperson Sten Zvorwadza said government has failed to create jobs, forcing long-suffering citizens to fend for their families through vending.

“We will mobilise people to resist such an evil resolution, from ministers who if we dig deeper it will not be surprising that their own mothers send them to school or to universities through money gotten from vending,” he said.

“We will not allow this ban to kill the livelihoods... of hardworking citizens,” Zvorwadza said.

Following an outbreak of typhoid in the high density suburb of Mbare which has so far claimed two lives, government set up a taskforce — comprising the ministries of Health, Local Government, Environment and Small to Medium enterprises — which banned the vending of cooked and uncooked foods.

The outbreak, which has also seen 18 people seeking treatment, was caused by poor water and sanitation facilities as well as burst sewers.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa said 76 percent of typhoid cases have so far been reported from Harare.

Zvorwadza added “this is time not only as vendors, but as the people of Zimbabwe we should take control of our lives and hold this irresponsible government accountable to what happens inside the borders of Zimbabwe”.

“If we are silent, this (ban) will be effected countrywide. We need to stand up and demand redress to the welfare of vendors and the people of Zimbabwe at large,” he said.

Zvorwadza added that government should have consulted them first before resolving to ban their livelihoods.

He said the only reason government had resorted to ban vending was because they have never taken responsibility for anything wrong in the country.

The Navuz leader also said government has managed to destroy and make life difficult for citizens by introducing “unthinkable” policies such as SI 64 of 2016.

He said government should look into the poor service delivery in local authorities before blaming vendors for the disease.

“The government has contributed a lot to poor service delivery than what the vendors have done to take charge of their lives. Surely if all the millions of people who chose to be brave, leave their homes and come to the city of Harare had chosen to wait for government to create jobs by now we would have million cases of people who would have starved to death,” Zvorwadza said.

Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association member Samuel Mawere said government should not punish vendors because the cause of typhoid is not them.

“Poor management of water and sewer infrastructure should be their main target not people trying to eke out an honest living,” he said.

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