‘Operation Murambatsvina’ campaign that started last week in the city of Harare has barely improved sanitation in streets and pavements but the question still remains, Will this campaign last with thousands of people unemployed and cash shortages in the country?
Last week President Robert Mugabe demanded all illegal settlements be demolished, all vendors be removed from the CBD and all ‘mushika shika’ taxis and unlicensed kombis be banned from operating in town.
City of Harare (COF), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) have joined hands in removing vendor and ‘hwindis’ business.
The question is, will Zimbabweans back down and surrender their hard earned goods? The bravery of street women battling armed cops, mushika shika taxis and unlicensed Kombis bribing cops to operate is an indicator people will continue to sell goods.
Speaking to a cell phone vendor near Joina City Mall he said, “this is an inside thing within the government to try and promote their bond note. One wouldn’t be surprised if they bring another $10 bond note and $20 note note anytime. Tenge chizviona hedu hurumende yedu inofunga kuti vanhu havaoni .We all need money we won’t leave the streets”.
Another fast food and grocery vendor near Copacabana market who identified himself as George said, “we may argue that there is no employment in the country but we should not break the law. We as vendors are trying to survive like those at the top hatibve mumusika nekuti hatisi kuba zvinhu zvevanhu. Vanhu vavo ivavo vavanotuma ndombavha, ma price edu ari negotiable unlike mumashop. Enda unotenga mafuta mu Food World its $4 but ne US inodzikisirwa saka umbavha hwatanga kumusoro”.
The situation in Zimbabwe has led to hopelessness, ironically the government’s actions since the Cabinet reshuffle has taken people’s hope .Vendors do not hesitate if their stock is taken today, tomorrow you will find them again at the same spot ready to flee. They will continue selling because that is where they can only get money. Just like in 2007 and 2008 shops were used as deploy by vendors fleeing price control officers and prices of basic commodities rose every day.
Street vendors appropriate almost 80% of public space for their own use, adding to vehicle congestion and polluting the city however my opinion is, it’s not the vendors with the problem it is the government’s looting, corrupt and selfish ways that has landed Zimbabwe in all this mess.