Piecemeal interventions won’t address the vending issue

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) will this week seek audience with the new government over the heightened clampdown on vendors operating in the Central Business Districts of all major towns and cities in Zimbabwe. The illegal clampdown has to date led to the arrest of more than 15 vendors mainly in Masvingo and Mutare. If the meeting materializes, VISET will urge the new government to embrace the spirit of inclusive engagement which VISET continues to agitate for. As an organization VISET condemns all forms of violence and urges all local authorities in Zimbabwe to respect the constitution of the country as they execute their duties.

It is our view that only a holistic and human rights based approach can address the challenges, thus taking a sustainable and long lasting solution. The issue of the identification of new vending sites for instance, must never be treated as an event. It is actually a huge process that requires comprehensive consultations with all the critical stakeholders. Vendors will not participate and validate processes that are half baked and with the chilling outcome of pushing them out of business. This is the reason why, in Harare for example, not even a single vendor complied with numerous directives by the previous government to move to the desert-like sites including Coca-Cola Open space, Mbudzi bus terminus, and the Coventry Holding Bay.

Yesterday, VISET team took time to visit the so called new sites to ascertain the progress made so far in terms of upgrading the facilities and observed that facilities are still in bad shape. We urge the Harare City Council to urgently constitute a commission involving all vendor organizations to commence the process of identifying profitable sites. This is the only way to address the current challenges and vendors will be prepared to relocate if ONLY they participate in these processes

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