A BULAWAYO-BASED association representing informal traders has condemned government’s ongoing crackdown on street vendors, saying the blitz was ultra vires the Constitution.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Police on Thursday launched a raid on street vendors, following a directive by President Robert Mugabe last week.
The Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) and Street Wise Informal Traders Association (SWITA) said the exercise was likely to cause a spike in criminal activities.
“It is our considered view that the threats on vendors by the President is (1) an affront to Section 14 Subsection (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that at all times, the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must ensure that appropriate and adequate measures are undertaken to create employment for all Zimbabweans, especially women and youths.
“Violation of Section 24 of the Constitution which says that state and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must adopt reasonable policies and measures and provide everyone with an opportunity to work in a freely chosen activity, in order to secure a decent living for themselves and their families,” the BVTA and SWITA said in a joint statement.
Critics argue the on-going clean-up could turn into a campaign similar to the 2005 controversial operation code-named Murambatsvina/Drive Out The Filth, which left over 700 000 people homeless.
“His threats also undermine Section 64 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that “Every person has a constitutional right to choose and carry on any profession, trade or practice of a profession, trade or occupation may be regulated by law, the BVTA and SWITA said, noting that the blitz will only but spike prostitution and the crime rate.
“We, therefore, call on civil society organisations, human rights lawyers, residents associations to come out and stand in solidarity with vendors and informal traders in this hour of need as this is an attack on the only livelihood of the already burdened and suffering citizens.
“We are convinced that an attack on the informal sector will have far reaching consequences such as increasing crime rate, prostitution, spread of HIV and Aids and people will not be able to fend for their families.”