VENDOR representatives have welcomed the move by Harare City Council (HCC) to halt a clampdown on vendors selling wares at undesignated points.
The vendors have been fighting running battles with municipal police since the launch of the operation a few months ago and have lost thousands of dollars worth of wares while resisting efforts to evict them.
Vendors Initiative for Socio-Economic Transformation (VISET) director Samuel Wadzai said it was pointless to chase vendors from the city centre when there was no alternative area suitable for vending in place.
“VISET welcomes the decision taken by the Harare City Council to stop with immediate effect eviction of vendors plying their trade in the CBD area,” Wadzai said.
“It has always been our stance that chasing vendors from their current spaces without providing suitable and lucrative markets is a recipe for disaster and an attack on the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe the majority of whom survive on vending.” He added: “Now that the HCC has seen the illegality of its approach to dealing with the vending question in Zimbabwe, the best foot forward as far as VISET is concerned is to embrace an inclusive and non-political strategy.”
Wadzai said they had already developed an alternative policy paper aimed at rationalising and regulating urban vending in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organisation’s Promise Mkwananzi said thousands of families who rely on vending were struggling to make ends meet.
“We welcome the move as part of the pressure that we as the vendors have sustained in protesting the unjust and unreasonable clampdown,” Mkwananzi said.
“We urge council to wait for the outcome of the negotiations we are having through the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission which seek to find an amicable and lasting solution to the impasse. We also hope that council can make its own autonomous decisions that are independent of the government that is insecure and paranoid of its own dismal failures.”
Mkwananzi, however, said vendors would remain on high alert and vigilant until they were satisfied that council was genuine in its proclamation.