By Kudzayi Zvinavshe
The National Vendors Union Zimbabwe (NVUZ) has condemned the 7 day ultimatum to vendors by Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr. Ignatius Chombo describing the ultimatum as ‘cruel, inhumane and barbaric’.
Speaking at a press conference held today, NVUZ National Director, Samuel Wadzai said, “Dr Chombo must be at the forefront in as far as efforts at legalizing, organizing and formalizing vending are concerned” he said.
Rather Chombo has threatened vendors with military action if they fail to vacate their current sources of livelihood.
Primrose Kwenda, a vendor present at the press briefing said, “We do not welcome this move by the government rather we are also giving them 7 days to create job opportunities for us. We are not vendors by choice, we are also well educated but they have run down the economy and we couldn’t get jobs hence we took up vending as a last resort” she said with great sadness.
Wadzai hinted that if they went on with the operation it would be synonymous with Operation Murambatsvina and Gukurahindi. “Forceful removal of millions of vendors from the CBDs of all cities in Zimbabwe will be reminiscent of the Gukurahundi of the early 1980s or even Operation Murambatsvina and we will not tolerate such manoeuvres to bring civil unrest in our beloved country” he said.
Movement of Democratic Change (MDC-T) president, Morgan Tsvangirai also added weight on the matter, speaking at another press briefing held at the party offices he said, “The utterances by Ignatius Chombo demanding that all local authorities should forcibly remove vendors from the streets are unconstitutional”
Tsvangirai added, “local authorities are urged to reject any unconstitutional directive issued by ZANU PF regime, as MDC we are extremely disturbed and concerned” he said.
James Muderede, a vendor in Harare CBD said, “we are not fighting, neither are we criminals neither do we have any harmful weapons, the government shouldn’t unleash the military on us as we are Zimbabwean who are trying to get by in these tough times, we would rather pay the $1 fees they have been demanding,
“We can’t go out of the country in search of greener pastures as we risk being killed out there, the government have let us down and where are the jobs they promised us when they were campaigning,” he said.
One vendor who spoke on condition of anonymity dismissed the issue of vending sites as unpractical as sales would drop if they were selling one product on one site, rather if they were scattered around town their sales would be good.