By Staff Reporter
Harare, May 25, 2016 – A LOCAL vendors representative group has accused Zanu PF supporters of forcing its members to leave their stalls to join the so-called Million Man march organized by the party in support of President Robert Mugabe’s rule.
Thousands of Zanu PF supporters were Wednesday gathered at an open space between Harare’s Rainbow Towers hotel and the Interpol building in Rotten Row area.
The gathering, according to Zanu PF spokespersons, was for those who have volunteered to come and express appreciation for President Mugabe’s “exemplary” leadership.
The National Vendors Union Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) said Wednesday the march was far from being a gathering for volunteers as some of their members were commandeered to join it.
“We are concerned that in violation of their constitutional rights, vendors were forced to leave their businesses and attend the Zanu (PF) event which was held as a show of solidarity with the party’s leader, President Robert Mugabe,” said the group in a statement.
“As a result of the forced attendance, many vendors were left counting their losses after they had been forced to close shop and attend the Million Man march.
“As NAVUZ, we implore the ruling party to uphold citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of assembly and association as defined under Section 58 (2) of the country’s constitution which stipulates that “No person may be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering.”
The group said it was concerned over the intimidation of some vendors who defied the order to attend the million man march.
“To us as NAVUZ, the continued manipulation and victimization of vendors by the ruling party reveals nothing but the indifference of those in the echelons of power to the plight of suffering Zimbabweans seeking to eke a living out of vending at a time unemployment is estimated at over 90 percent due to a failing economy.
“We are concerned that on a daily basis, vendors are victimized by municipal cops and government officials continue to declare war on vending yet when it comes to political events, the same government manipulates the desperate vendors to boost attendance at political events,” said the group.