VENDORS Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset)’s attention has been drawn to a video in circulation on social media depicting Harare City Council municipal police bludgeoning a vendor whose goods they had allegedly confiscated.

To say we are livid at the disproportionate application of force on an unarmed citizen trying to eke a living would be a gross understatement.

What particularly irks us as an organisation is that this is, but one example of the harrowing tales of informal economy workers at the hands of both municipal and Zimbabwe Republic Police, with many not having recourse to justice when unjustifiably getting their goods confiscated, in contravention of their constitutional rights.

Viset was part of the stakeholders that came together to birth the Harare City Council’s small-to-medium enterprises policy, a document that is progressive and recognises the right to dignity of informal economy workers and the equal need to provide decent and safe working spaces.

Sadly, this document has only been launched but not being implemented, giving way to suspicions that this was only for election campaign purposes. We applaud the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry for putting together the formalisation strategy draft document together. We hope the process is finalised without further delay.

We wish to put on notice municipal and other law enforcement agents that acts of disproportionate application of force will be rewarded with legal ramifications both individually and collectively. Do not criminalise survival!

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