THOUSANDS of vendors and their families are likely to go hungry following the decision by government to ban the vending of fruits, vegetables and meat in an effort to fight the spread of typhoid which has hit the country.
Zimbabwe Informal Sectors Organisation (ZISO) and National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) estimate that more than a million people are surviving on vending because of the failed economy and inability by the government to create jobs.
The decision by the inter-ministerial committee to ban vending follows reports that more than 2000 cases of typhoid have been recorded nationwide while nine deaths were reported with 76% of such cases in Harare alone.
ZISO leader, Promise Mkwananzi, said the government must focus on providing clean water and sanitation for the residents instead of banning vending.
"The same government has tried to chase away informal traders whose only source of income is vending and has failed," said Mkwananzi.
He added, "Vending is not by choice but a situation created by the current government which has failed to create employment and by the closure of many companies."
Mkwananzi said the government must be prepared to face resistance as has been the norm for the last five years.
Addressing a press conference in Harare, Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa flanked by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said as from Thursday all people interested in vending should approach the councils for appropriate allocation of vending space.
"The inter-ministerial committee agreed to prohibit and stop the vending of food be it processed or unprocessed in undesignated areas. These include vegetables and fruits such as mangoes, mazhanje, tomatoes, maize and other food stuffs such as cooked meat fish, sadza ... to control the spread of typhoid," said the minister of health.
Parirenyatwa also said the Harare City council would now institute a 24 hour refuse collection within the Central Business District.
"In other areas, a 16 hour shift is to be carried out whilst a 12 hour shift will be done in some areas," he said.
He added, "In Mbare where more than 40 cases have been reported the cleaning of illegal dumpsites is on-going and plans are to complete clearance by Friday."