ROHR ZIMBABWE IN SOLIDARITY WITH VENDORS
28th June, 2015
By Panyika Anselm Karimanzira
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe activists in Zimbabwe stood in solidarity with vendors in the month of June 2015 following an ultimatum issued by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo for the vendors to vacate their sites in cities and towns in Zimbabwe within seven days or face the wrath of the Zimbabwe National Army.
Dr Ignatius Chombo’s argument is that vendors must not operate from undesignated sites but, curiously, the government, through local authorities has not provided sufficient and equally profitable designated sites.
On the other hand, the National Vendors Union Zimbabwe (NAVUZ)’s argument is that the government must provide sufficient and equally profitable designated vending sites before it attempts to force the vendors off the streets.
The government must also make a deliberate and concerted effort, in consultation with all stakeholders, to created employment and to recognise vendors as workers. At the end of the day, the majority of households in Zimbabwe are surviving through vending, a scenario which is a direct result of the closure of companies both in industry and commerce and the general lack of new investment in the economy owing to bad government policies.
From a human rights perspective, ROHR Zimbabwe, cognisant of the macro-economic situation obtaining in Zimbabwe, is of the position that chasing vendors from the streets is the same as denying vendors the opportunity to fend for their families thereby denying them livelihoods and hence a whole rafter of their rights, including the very basic right to life.
Section 11 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe places the burden on the government to “……take all practical measures to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in Chapter 4 and to promote their full realisation and fulfillment”.
Due to the aforementioned, ROHR Zimbabwe partnered NAVUZ when it convened consultative meetings of its members in Harare (on Wednesday 3rd June, 2015 at the Anglican Cathedral, Cnr Second Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue) and in Bulawayo (on Sunday 7th June, 2015 at Stanley Square Hall).
When vendors finally marched to parliament on Wednesday 24th June, 2015 to present a petition to parliament, ROHR Zimbabwe activists marched with the vendors in solidarity.
Should parliament fail to heed the petition by the vendors and should the government persist with its pronounced intention to force the vendors off the streets without providing sufficient and equally profitable designated vending sites, our gloves are off.
For pertinent pictures of the aforementioned meetings and events, please click on the following captions and / or links; –
ROHR Zimbabwe at NAVUZ meeting in Harare on Wednesday 3rd June, 2015
ROHR Zimbabwe at NAVUZ meeting in Bulawayo on Sunday 7th June, 2015
ROHR Zimbabwe at NAVUZ march to parliament on Wednesday 24th June, 2015
By Panyika Anselm Karimanzira
Spokesperson – ROHR Zimbabwe