ZCIEA is saddened by the Government ban of vending in Harare because not all vendors in the CBD are necessarily food vendors. However, acknowledge the purpose of this move which we request the government through local authorities to do a mobile CBD awareness raising of the ban and its intention. We recommend that government, through local authorities and Ministry of Health conduct awareness raising activities to citizens, the majority of whom are street vendors and workers in the informal economy. This approach can be part of several strategies to reduce unethical raids of vendors by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and City of Harare Municipal officials. Over the years, we have witnessed that these raids in some instances as too harsh resulting in violence and harassment of vendors which action, we completely abhor as Zimbabwe is party to the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 190 on the Elimination of Violence and harassment in the workplace. Most vendors who trade in the CBD are being affected by this government position, and we continue to urge our Government and the local authorities to prioritise investing in modernised vending marketplaces so that haphazard vending activities in CBDs are progressively and sustainably managed.
It is important for the nation to note that government ban on vending in CBD does not mean that vendors are the causers of these water-borne diseases, they are just primary victims of government’s reaction at the expenses of major causes such as unavailability of clean water supply by local authorities, shortage of ablution facilities, non-availability and application of strategic waste management systems, shortage of bins, burst sewer and water pipes, shortage of proper structures to trade from, and lack of awareness raising which are solemn responsibilities of local authorities through supporting mechanisms of the government itself.
We still continue to hope for the expedient assent of the National Formalisation Strategy by the President which will promote collective actions that reduce some of the challenges informal traders including vendors continue to face when disasters occur.
It is our hope that our continued advocacy as an organisation will change the leadership mind-set on the recurring system of primarily banning vendors from trading whenever disasters loom as this is their source of livelihood which equally reduces poverty in the country. Vendors are agent of public health and responsible citizens too who need to be recognised, respected and supported.