The New Year is associated with happiness and renewal yet for street vendors and informal traders in major cities and towns, 2019 has started with a nightmare as they are being viciously attacked by council police and Zimbabwe Republic Police.
The joint attack on our members commenced some 3 days ago and is reminiscent of the attacks which befell vendors in August and September 2018 when they were forced out of Harare central business district. Police are indiscriminately attacking the vendors with booted feet, fists, baton sticks wooden clubs and teargas is wantonly being spew in the streets. Wares and money is being stolen with impunity by the law enforcement members.
Women vendors are the most affected as they are more vulnerable to violence and constitute the majority of the vendors.
As Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) we condemn the callous action by police and council authorities. These despicable actions are a flagrant violation of human rights set out in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Everyone has a right to a fair hearing and administrative justice and the actions of the police and council authorities clearly violate this right.
Further, we call for an immediate end to these illegal acts targeting innocent vendors who are seeking a livelihood in this harsh economic environment. Vendors like the generality of Zimbabweans are victims of the government engineered economic morass. Thus, for the same government to attack people seeking to get a decent life is a double insult.
As VISET we are documenting all the ongoing violations and will soon engage our lawyers to seek recourse so far 15 of our members have been illegally arrested by the police and demand their immediate and unconditional release.
Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)