ZIMCODD, WCOZ advocate for regularization of street vendors in Midlands

John Maketo, ZIMCODD Programs Manager
John Maketo, ZIMCODD Programs Manager
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By Evidence  Chipadza and Partinella  Ngozo

Zimbabwe Coalition  on Debt and Development  (ZIMCODD ) has called upon government to regularize the informal  sector as it is a major contributor  to the country ‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Speaking at the  International  Street Vendors  Day  commemorations  at Young Women  Christian Association (YWCA ) in Gweru,  ZIMCODD  Programs  Manager John Maketo underscored the need for government to urgently vendors address the growing disparities in the way the informal sector is being handled despite playing in crucial role in the realization of socio-economic rights in Zimbabwe.

“Government  should  regularize  the informal traders because  they are all traders ,in the interest  of social  and economic  justice  everyone has the right to equal opportunity  on resources as stated in the constitution. Street vendors must be given  designated  places so that they conduct their businesses, “said Maketo.

Precious  Mutumwa from Women  ‘s Coalition  of Zimbabwe (WCOZ ) highlighted  on the plight of disabled women who are always chased in the streets  by council police.

“We say no to raiding as we also want to survive  in this harsh economy  but Council continues  to  confiscate our goods. The disabled community  who depend on vending are suffering .We are also left out on information  dissemination,”said Mutumwa.

In Kwekwe ,Women  Coalition of  Zimbabwe young women’s Chamber forum members in partnership with Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association represented by its Kwekwe Territorial President Melody Ndawana  recently engaged Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers  Association and Markets Advisor Alex Homela. The young women approached Mr Homela who is  the council advisor   with one voice crying for the allocation of working spaces or market stalls to the vendors by Kwekwe City.

Speaking during the meeting which was organized by WCOZ Abigail Matare said that , council should avail vending spaces  for women since most women were now operating as informal traders and are usually playing the cat and mouse game with local authority .

“Council should allocate  proper vending spaces with ablution facilities  to women at affordable rentals considering the role of women at family and community  level especially in the midst of a recurring economic crisis. Municipal police have found easy prey on women whom they subject to physical, sexual and emotional harassment”, she said

Tied to this, Melody Ndawana encouraged council to decentralise markets as a way of empowering a number of women in various locations in Kwekwe.

“Markets should be decentralized because not everyone has access to Mbizo Extension  (Mbizo 2).marketplace resulting in congestion  of  informal traders in town and other areas. Imagine someone coming from Mbizo 21 to buy  good and farm produce in Mbizo 2. This is obviously time consuming and  costly. One market for all residents does not work considering  the surging demands for vending spaces in the city”, she said

Mr Homela concurred with the growing concerns from women that action needs to be taken to be inclusive  of the the gendered dynamics as far as the promotion, realization and protection of socio-economic rights is concerned.

“As a council advisor I will definitely make sure that there is inclusion of women and youths  in markets so that no one is left behind in operating vending spaces here in Kwekwe. Also have regrettably  noted that some political parties also come with their lists of people trying to take over market places but as long I’m here the markets are open for everyone who is a resident of Kwekwe.  We will not allow corrupt officials to disenfranchise the residents of Kwekwe from operating vending spaces. Unfortunately, last week a group of youths came here trying to intimidate me to give them spaces but I wouldn’t bow to political parties agenda of unfair distribution of vending spaces”

Homela said that so far they were 220 vendors who registered at the ME market which is currently the biggest market in Kwekwe with 3 composed of  vegetable market,chicken market and clothing market. The residence association leader  highlighted that they are targeting to have more than 1000 traders just like Mbare Musika .

“So far in Kwekwe we have the largest marketplace and I will be glad to engage council on  behalf of women to get spaces considering that  most women are breadwinners and are operating illegally. Such a move will also pay dividends to the local authority in terms of revenue collection”,he said





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