VENDORS say they will take advantage of the 2018 polls to punish leaders who have failed them.
By Edgar Gweshe
The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) director Samuel Wadzai told The Standard that for long, authorities have failed to recognise the hardships faced by vendors and the 2018 harmonised elections presented an opportunity for vendors to choose a responsive leadership.
Viset has since launched the issue-based voter education and (agitation) mobilisation campaign (IBVA) targeting vendors in Harare and Chitungwiza. As part of its objectives, the campaign seeks to address the low participation of street vendors in civilian political processes.
“As vendors, we are taking voter education and mobilisation seriously. We know that it is our only opportunity to change the way we are governed and punish leaders who do not recognise our struggles. Our IBVA campaign is a major step towards ensuring informed participation of our members in the electoral process.
“A responsive leadership is what we need, hence Viset’s campaign to encourage vendors to go and register to vote. In other words, we are saying elections present an ideal opportunity to choose or do away with certain leaders,” said Wadzai.
Wadzai said vendors form a critical constituency and urged the informal traders to actively participate and “be the agents of the change that they desire”.
“By mobilising vendors to vote, IBVA seeks to catalyse vendors as change agents through enhancing their ability to hold relevant authorities accountable, thus speaking truth to power. Our campaign does not only assist vendors to secure their rights to livelihoods but also helps in attaining the goal of promoting informed, active citizenship for more accountable governance in Zimbabwe,” said Wadzai
Vendors have been at loggerheads with the government following a directive to ban vending in the central business district.
The government has also blamed vendors for the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
However, vendors argue that the fall of the national economy led to an increase in informal trading and have challenged the government to create jobs.