The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is surprised by the directive from President Robert Mugabe to forcibly remove Harare’s street traders and vendors yet it is his party that not only made sure that the economy collapsed throwing thousands of people into the streets, but also encouraged people to go into vending as a vote buying gimmick.
People who are into street vending are not into it for their liking, but are being forced due to the collapsed economy largely blamed on President Mugabe’s bad economic policies. Instead of harassing vendors, the Government must first of all restore economic growth and create the promised 2.2 million jobs and by doing so, all vendors will vanish overnight.
Our streets are littered with thousands of graduates from tertiary institutions, thanks to President Robert Mugabe’s ill-conceived economic policies that have failed to revive the economy.
What is more hypocritical for Mugabe is that his party has been encouraging people to go into ‘self-help’ projects and declaring them an eyesore now is extremely insensitive. In fact most of the vendors are mere workers of Zanu PF barons who give them wares to sell in the streets. There is also a possibility that this is an act of appeasement to businesses that have been losing business to vendors.
The ZCTU is worried that we are heading for another “Operation Murambatsvina” that will see a lot of displacement of people around cities as the country gears for national elections. Furthermore, we suspect that the government, hard hit by money shortages, would like to reap some absurd taxes from vendors who would be allocated spaces in designated areas. We also cannot rule out party factionalism cleansing as most vendors were organised based on Zanu PF factions.