Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) would like to condemn in the strongest of terms the decision by the Gweru City Council to evict vendors operating in the central business district of that city ahead of a ZANU PF Youth Interface rally set for Mkoba Stadium. There can never be a more explicit way to demonstrate the City Council’s warped priorities. For a long time now, vendors in Gweru have been calling for the regularization and formalization of their operations and nothing has been done. Is it not ironic that the Gweru City Fathers only got the energy to correct the morass because Mr. Mugabe is visiting the city, or are they suggesting that vendors are a nuisance to the President that they must be evicted before he visits the city? At VISET we condemn this way of doing things for what it is; inhumane!

The Gweru City Council cannot, given the state of the economy that is characterized by over 90% unemployment, prioritize the beautification of streets and pavements at the expense of the lives of thousands who are surviving on vending. What is needed is a more concrete and inclusive intervention to organize, regularize and eventually legalize the operations of vendors not only in Gweru but the whole country. Piecemeal and face-saving approaches like what we are witnessing in Gweru will never take the economy and country forward. We therefore urge our more than five thousand members in Gweru to resist and reject any mischief driven attempts to evict them from their current vending sites without providing sound and sustainable options.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)