Zimbabwe: Destruction of Market Stalls a Silent Torture - Informal Traders

23 April 2020

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) an informal traders organisation has expressed distress over the recent destruction of market stalls by local authorities.

In a statement, ZCIEA said the action by local authorities was torture on the informal economy which is trading for survival.

"ZCIEA is deeply saddened by the horrible, inhuman and ruthless destruction of vendors' stalls in Kwekwe, Mbare, Machipisa and other areas by the local authorities. As an organization that works with and represents informal economy workers across 42 territories in Zimbabwe, ZCIEA sees this action as a silent form of harassment and torture of innocent citizens on informal economy trading for survival," said ZCEIA

The vendor organisation says each time there is an outbreak of a disease they are thrown on the deep end.

"Whenever there is an outbreak, either cholera or typhoid informal economy workers and traders are blamed as the causes of such outbreaks, now we have COVID-19 they are victims again, their stalls are being destroyed. Why is the public health war on COVID-19 pandemic becoming a war on the livelihoods of the vulnerable urban poor dependent on informal trading for their livelihoods? The action just takes place as a sudden attack, with no consultation"

The organisation says the move is an act of hostility on legitimate vendors who are working to earn a living.

"ZCEIA condemns this deplorable act of animosity. Vendors are human too and above all, legitimate citizens of Zimbabwe who are working against all odds to make an honest living. Whichever source of this instruction we believe this is heartless advice which is awful and the worst of its kind in this critical moment of life for the informal workers and traders. To make it worse part of Harare demolitions took place on Independence Day, 18 April 2020.

"We urgently request for this action to stop. The timing and approach are both harsh and wrong. The criminalization and stigmatization of informal workers and traders must stop" said ZCEIA

Local authorities are on a drive to restore sanity in cities and towns and have taken the current Covid-19 lockdown to clear illegal structures.

Informal TardersVendorsZimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations

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