VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko last week stirred the hornet’s nest by accusing multitudes of unemployed people who are vending to look after their families as lazy.
Almost immediately after his thoughtless statements, Mphoko received a tongue-lashing from the National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) among others.
According to Navuz, the VP’s expressions had reflected Zanu PF’s insensitiveness to people’s suffering and had shown that he was out of touch with reality, considering that millions of Zimbabwe’s working class had turned to vending due to the high rate of unemployment.
It is a fact that by his remarks, Mphoko could have insulted the majority surviving on vending countrywide.
Instead of launching a tirade against the vendors, he should have commended them for their industriousness.
One wonders how the VP’s security details could have felt, as most of them are hawking to augment their meagre salaries. It is time to remind Mphoko that vendors are into it not by choice, but there are no jobs. With 90% unemployment rate, it means that only a fraction of the entire population is formally employed. So how does Mphoko think the majority are surviving?
Mphoko’s remarks were very unfortunate and ill-informed as they lack an appreciation of the prevailing economic circumstances in the country.
He must not forget that the situation Zimbabwe finds itself in is a product of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF misrule. It is hoped that Mphoko will take time to learn the ropes and come to the full realisation that as long as Zanu PF fails to address economic fundamentals, vendors and street selling will be here to stay.
It is surprising how the VP can blame the poor individuals struggling to earn an honest living as a result of Mugabe’s destructive policies. Zimbabweans demand an apology for Mpoko’s inconsiderate utterances. Who does he think he is in the first place?
While Mphoko’s booboo could be politically suicidal, he showed exactly one of the biggest problems of appointments instead of being elected. Mphoko only has Mugabe to please, and unacceptably, the one who appointed him only takes his own vote as a reflection of his competency.
Reality is Mphoko was a relatively unknown figure until his latest appointment. It appears his only claim to fame was being a diplomat. It appears he never experienced life in Zimbabwe. Had he raised his family as an ordinary Zimbabwean locally, he would have known the extent to which Mugabe has shattered Zimbabwe – once Africa’s bread basket.
Mphoko would have known why 60 000 employees have lost their jobs and why over 5 000 firms have closed shop in the last five years; and why farming is no longer a lucrative venture. He also would have answers as to why Mugabe seeks foreign medical attention while the local health sector is on its knees and why the economy is in a state of comatose with university graduates stranded without jobs. Truth is Zanu PF has shattered Zimbabweans’ dream by failing to stimulate the economy due to its destructive ideas.
Unfortunately, Mphoko’s howler will only achieve one thing – which is to mend Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s political standing by direct comparison.
Zimbabweans are tired of this hypocrisy. Zanu PF should work to restore the country’s dignity.