Karoi vendors victims of Govt decree

via Karoi vendors victims of Govt decree – The Zimbabwean 1 July 2015

Nearly 500 vendors were left counting their losses as casuals of a countrywide government decree when their shelters were demolished by Karoi town council on Friday afternoon.

Karoi vendors’ association coordinator Justice Charimba expressed concern that the council had failed to allocate them strategic sites but instead was punishing them to areas owned by individuals including Chairman Richard Ziki and local businessman Clever Foya.

“The council is pushing us to the wall as they want us all to be accommodated by individuals when the council cannot benefit. We look forward to see our monthly payments developing the town in a small way’’ said Charimba. He added that the amount demanded by the owners was a rip off. They are required to pay $25.00 registration fee and another $25.00 for each stall.

“Cash flow is a challenge for the majority of our members and council management claimed they were negotiating on our behalf, but why not utilise it for the benefit of the council’’ asked Charimba. Another vendor Sarudzai Mutara of ward one blamed mostly Zanu PF councillors who assured them they will be assisted.

“Women were abused campaigning for these councillors who are not concerned about our plight’’ said a 45 year old widow with three children aged between five and seventeen years.

“I am still yet to pay for school fees and I do not know how I will raise the money. I cannot afford to pay at the new site’’ she added.

Some councillors differed with the action saying there was no regulation of the move as they were advocating for dialogue with the vendors’ leadership for an amicable solution.

“We are still to get feedback from management as we had resolved to assist them get a better place for their operations as they are making a decent living out of vending. The action of demolishing their shelters is disgusting and inhuman as it is a reminder of Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

We must not be seen making the same mistakes made 10 years ago that left thousands homeless without solution up to now’’ said one councillor speaking on condition thathe is not named.

Some vendors castigated council for approving Chairman Ziki’s place that has no toilets nearby. However Ziki refused to comment on the matter saying, “I am sorry, I have no comment to make’’ before hanging up his phone. Council secretary Maxwell Kaitano did not respond to questions sent to him at the time of writing although he had written a letter to vendors to wind up operations by 27 June.

“I write to remind you that the deadline for relocation of vendors remains 27 June 21, 2015. To that end you are hereby required to advise members of your association trading at undesignated sites to wind up operation and relocate to appropriate locations around town’’ said Kaitano in a letter in our possession.

The government issued a decree that by 27 June 2015 all vendors must vacate places mostly in urban central business centres and use designated areas for their operations, a move that has met with resistance from some vendors in Harare.

Many Zimbabweans have resorted to vending as the economy continues to shrink with most companies closing apart from promises made ahead of 2013 elections that the Zanu PF Government will create 2 million jobs.