By Blessings Mashaya
National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chairperson Sten Zvorwadza has said President Robert Mugabe is “daydreaming” in his bid to ban street vending.
Zvorwadza told the Daily News yesterday that they will not listen to Mugabe.
“As the informal sector, we will not listen to such nonsense; we are going to stay in the streets. He is daydreaming. I bet with my head, the president has no capacity to remove vendors from the streets.
“He must depart from this issue of daydreaming. Mugabe must appreciate the role of the informal sector. Zimbabweans must understand that Mugabe is old and he is a dead man walking.
“The move to chase away vendors will be a final blow to the dying economy. Mugabe is living a good life with his family; he thinks that we are in the streets because we want to do so, failing to understand that he is the one who created this situation.”
Mugabe said on Saturday that he will be issuing an edict aimed at bringing order to the bustling city of some 2 million people.
He said food stalls would be moved off the pavements and some could be relocated to new sites. He said he will not allow street vending to be a common feature of Harare “Nigerian style.”
The teetotaller said the vendors should move out as the government will not accept the chaos they bring, adding that they must accept to be relocated to designated vending stalls and trade openly where the authorities assign them.
This comes as Mugabe has failed to create jobs for the burgeoning, young population.
“When I arrived from South Africa, I heard that Harare is now dirty with vendors now everywhere, even streets which were given names such as (Julius) Nyerere and Robert Mugabe are now covered with dirt,” Mugabe told the meeting of his Zanu PF youth wing.
“Some vendors are selling their wares during the night so that they cannot be arrested.”
Ever since the City of Harare launched a crackdown on vendors, they have taken to selling their wares well into the night to evade municipal police and also make a better killing through quick sales to a homeward bound workforce.
Mugabe said he was told that some senior Zanu PF leaders are protecting the vendors because they fear losing the forthcoming 2018 elections.
“I was talking to (Home Affairs minister Ignatius) Chombo yesterday saying why do we allow our roads to be grocery shops. I said we must give them designated areas so that they will sell their wares outside the roads and leave the roads free.
“He told me that the vendors are saying they want to sell their products everywhere.
“I said that we don’t want that indiscipline, down with that indiscipline, they must go to designated areas.
“We don’t want the Nigerian style. Harare must be the smartest city because it is our capital city,” Mugabe said. Daily News