The polls will be the first major test of the new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power in November after a de facto military coup forced 94-year-old Robert Mugabe to resign.
President of Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association Killer Zivhu has said his constituency had agreed to back Mnangagwa in the make-or-break elections.
He said the votes of cross border traders were crucial in determining the future of the country and urged the membership to rally behind Mnangagwa, who he said was a tried and tested leader.
“Cross-border traders have always supported the government of the day and we know that their vote will ensure that our president gets a five-year mandate to lead us,” he said on the sidelines of the Vote First launch at Exor service station in Masvingo on Friday.
“Since the advent of new dispensation, he has changed many things for the better and we all enjoy his sweat.
“Our members who include vendors are distributing flyers to travellers and they bear messages on the significance of voting. This is also happening in all neighbouring countries like South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique, as we seek to urge all our members to vote and vote for Zanu PF and President ED.”
Zivhu said there were about 2,5 million regular cross border traders in the country who frequented neighbouring countries and appealed to them to appreciate the significance of the July 30 vote.
“Cross-border traders constitute a big number of voters in the country,” he said.
He said cross-borders were grateful to Mnangagwa for creating a conducive environment for doing business, adding it is through his policies that many were thriving. He hailed Mnangagwa for the Beitbridge Border Post upgrade project which is set to make it a one-stop border post, hailing him for his drive to eliminate corruption at ports of entry, make the borders safe and secure to travellers, mainly cross border traders.
“… Mnangagwa has the support of cross-border traders because of his friendly policies which made the cross-border trading easier. We have a women’s bank now that he officially opened a fortnight ago and the bank will go a long way in assisting our members access lines of credit,” he said.
He said some members that included vendors were distributing flyers at cross-border bus stations bearing messages on the significance of voting in the harmonised elections.
A significant number of Zimbabweans cross borders daily to engage in informal cross-border trade.
Zimbabwean cross-border traders are a cosmopolitan, footloose group of cultural and economic entrepreneurs. They are a highly-gendered group, as they comprise mostly women. Cross-border trade as an occupation has given rise to the image of a strong, independent and mobile class of women involved in long distance trans-border business. Daily News.