Reliable statistics have established that the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is more than 90%. Put differently, only one out of ten Zimbabweans is in gainful employment.
The majority of the people are surviving within the informal sector as a result of the economic implosion that has primarily been caused by the ruinous, ill –advised, corrupt and populist economic policies of the Zanu PF regime.
The MDC is a labour–backed social democratic political party that has always advocated for labour–friendly economic policies that guarantee and protect workers’ rights and interests. However, because of the deep–rooted corrupt and unprecedented mismanagement of the national economy by the Zanu PF regime, thousands of workers have been thrown onto the streets as industries and factories continue to either downsize or completely close down.
It is these jobless Zimbabweans who now form the bulk of the vendors and other informal traders who operate from the streets of our cities, towns and growth points. These people are unfortunate victims of the cruel and selfish Zanu PF regime that is primarily concerned with pampering Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle. Given a viable alternative, the majority of Zimbabweans wouldn’t choose to operate from the streets as vendors. They would rather opt to secure formal jobs in industry, factories and in offices.
A few days ago, Robert Mugabe complained that the streets of Harare are now very dirty because there are too many vendors. He likened the prevailing situation in Harare to what is happening in countries such as Nigeria. However, it is completely lost to the Zanu PF dictator that the vendors who now populate Harare’s streets are a direct result of his regime’s failed economic policies. Mugabe went further to order the Police to physically remove these vendors from the streets in order to bring back the sunshine status to the city of Harare.
What Mugabe and his cronies do not appreciate is the fact that they cannot successfully cure a disease by merely rushing to suppress the symptoms rather than curing the root cause of the disease. For as long as there are no jobs and other viable business opportunities that are open for the majority of the people, the problem of indiscriminate vending will simply not disappear. Mugabe can use all the physical might of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to forcibly flash out vendors from the streets but, certainly, this will not mean the plight of the majority of jobless Zimbabweans will suddenly improve.
Not until the economy starts to rebound and to create more job and viable business opportunities will the problem of indiscriminate vending be permanently and holistically addressed.
The MDC and its Alliance partners possess the requisite managerial skills and socio–economic policies that will lead to a remarkable turnaround of Zimbabwe’s economy in a very short period of time.
We call upon all eligible Zimbabweans to turn out in their millions and register to vote and also to vociferously vote out the moribund and crumbling Zanu PF regime out of power in next year’s elections. For as long as Robert Mugabe and the gangster Zanu PF regime that he fronts remain in power, there will actually be more and more vendors who are going to be on our streets.
Vendors are NOT the problem. The problem is Robert Mugabe and his clueless and corrupt Zanu PF regime. Zimbabweans have got a patriotic obligation to ensure that at next year’s elections, the Zanu PF regime is totally removed from power, warts and all.
MDC: Equal Opportunities for All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson