Forced demolition of informal traders’ structures robbing them of a source of livelihood

It is with great concern that the government in February 2019 started destroying the sources of livelihood sustaining numerous unemployed citizens of Chitungwiza and Harare at a time when it has not addressed the economic challenges that the country is facing. While Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association (CAMERA) appreciates the role of government in pronouncing policies aimed at keeping our urban areas clean and safe for human habitation, it is the manner in which the operation was carried out where armed soldiers were deployed to deal with unarmed civilians who are trying to make ends meet through informal trading in a country with an unbearable cost of living.

The owners of tuckshops and small business premises in Chitungwiza and Harare were given a less than 24 hours notice to remove their wares and demolish their structures at gunpoint. CAMERA is fully aware that most of the owners of these structures are desperate citizens who were duped by some elements within ZANU PF to occupy these spaces illegally for cheap political gains ahead of previous general elections.

As a non-partisan representative of residents and the general citizenry, CAMERA stands for the rights and freedoms of all residents and ratepayers across the political divide. We insist that the affected informal traders needed adequate notice and alternative places to be relocated to for them to be able to continue sustaining their families and the nation at large.

In the spirit of national dialogue, CAMERA calls upon the interested parties such as the informal economy representatives, local authorities and central government among others to convene an urgent corresponding dialogue around this prime matter.

Source: Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association (CAMERA)