By Farai Maposa
While the Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo together with the Joint Operations Command read the riot act on vendors who will defy their directive of removing all vendors selling on undesignated areas, vendors have vowed to stay put.
Responding to the 7-days ultimatum that was handed to vendors across the country’s cities and towns who are operating on undesignated areas by the government , the board spokesperson Samuel Wadzai of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe addressing a press conference on Tuesday described the move as ‘barbaric and inhuman’.
“The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe wishes to condemn in the strongest terms,the cruel ,inhuman and barbaric calls by minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo for vendors operating on the so-called undesignated areas to vacate the space within seven days,”said Wadzai.
He said what boggles the mind is that the minister has not laid any alternative vending spaces for those vendors who are operating on the undesignated sites.
“In his order ,the minister does not provide alternative vending spaces for the vendors who will be affected by such an inconsiderate operation,
“The minister must be at the fore-front of legalising, organising and formalising vending but have chosen to militarise by inviting JOC to remove vendors from the streets,” fumed the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe spokesperson.
The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe likened the unleashing of soldiers on defying vendors as ‘reminiscent of the Gukurahundu’ and Operation Murambatsvina.
“’Zimbabwe is not in a state of emergency and inviting the police, army to fight vendors is declaring war on livelihoods, forcing millions of vendors across all cities and towns from the CBDs will be reminiscent of the Gukurahundi of the early 80s and Operation Murambatsvina,” read the NAVUZ statement.
Wadzai said the minister should re-think his decision as members of his organisation will defy the ultimatum unless they are provided with other alternatives.
Samuel Makanjera, a vendor along Jason Moyo street who is disabled said he will not be compelled by such a move as vending is the only way for him to fend for his family and is prepared to die.
“I do not think I will leave the streets anytime soon when its my only source of livelihood so I am very much prepared to lose my life as long as there are no other alternatives,” bared a defiant Makanjera.
The organisation’ s secretary Justice Manayi said the government should seek engagement with vendors rather than imposing actions on them.
“What is apparent is that when we are called to such meetings like the one held on Monday is that the minister and the members of JOC they don’t come to consult with us but merely impose their actions on us,” argued Manayi.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo on Monday gave vendors in Zimbabwe a one-week ultimatum to move from city and town centers or risk being evicted by the national army, police and council police.
Chombo read the riot act at his Makombe building offices.