Business Community Development

Crisis Coalition concerned by government’s clampdown on livelihoods

Zimbabwe wants and deserves a robust opposition
Nelson Chamisa (pictured), Zimbabwe's opposition leader joins Crisis Coalition in condemning demolitions

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has noted with great concern, the continued clampdown on livelihoods by the government.

Since June 7, 2021, the government has roped in the security services as part of an operation to destroy structures built by informal traders who are seeking to eke a living in a ‘failed economy.’

The operation has targeted the Harare Metropolitan province.

The operation is reminiscent of ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ of 2005 which was condemned by the United Nations. As a result of ‘Operation Murambatsvina’, an estimated 700 000 people were forcefully evicted from their homes and lost their livelihoods.

Zimbabwe’s economy is highly informalized (with an unemployment rate of over 90 percent) and factors leading to the continued free fall of the economy include failure to instill investor confidence, a legitimacy crisis on the part of the ruling party, Zanu PF, corruption, plunder of national resources by the political elite and illicit financial outflows among other vices.

“It is unfortunate that the government would seek to clamp down on informal traders at a time they have apparently failed to revive the economy. The Harare Provincial Development Coordinator, Tafadzwa Muguti has applauded the security services for ‘a successful operation’ in Harare Metropolitan province following the destruction of structures built by informal traders.

“It is our firm view that the continued clampdown on livelihoods amounts to a serious crime against humanity. Instead of formalizing informal trading, the government has chosen to clamp down on livelihoods at a time the majority of Zimbabweans are relying on informal trading for a living. We call upon the government to prioritize the welfare of citizens and desist from clamping down on livelihoods,” the coalition said in a statement.

Opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, weighed in by saying the government should rather provide alternative livelihood activities for the economically hard-pressed citizenry. He said continuously destroying people’s sources of livelihood has the potential to evoke revolts and disharmony in the country.

The Crisis Coalition added that informal trading should not be seen as an act of defiance but rather, an act of desperation following the failure by the government to create employment opportunities for the jobless.

“It is quite clear that the move to clampdown on livelihoods, as was the case with ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ is punishment to the urban electorate who have often voted against the ruling party in elections. When the government uses demolitions as a tool to punish the electorate, calls for the electorate to act likewise are justified.

“We urge citizens to remain resolute in light of the insensitive nature of the government and we also applaud residents’ associations who have stood up against the clampdown on livelihoods in urban areas. We also condemn in the strongest of terms, threats issued by the Harare Provincial Development Coordinator, Tafadzwa Muguti against residents’ associations resisting the demolitions.”

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende