FOLLOWING on from the 26 august 2015 protest to The Bulawayo Mayor and handing over of a yellow card, WOZA members in Harare have conducted a protest to the Minister of Local Government Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere. The 9th of September 12noon protest drew participation of 600 members.
Two protest groups converged at the Ministry of Local Governance located along Leopold Takawira Street and two members delivered the petition which was accepted by the Ministers Secretary. The protestors delivered their message through song – ‘vendor’s aramba’ (which means vendors have refused) and ‘Mavendor musawashungurudze’ (which means do not abuse vendors). As it traditional at WOZA protests, two prayer warriors led the prayers calling on Zimbabweans to respect the right to trade and called on divine intervention to stop the looting of vendor’s goods.
Members petitioned the Minister Saviour Kasukuwere his predecessor Minister Chombo is the one who began this human rights violation with orders for vendors to be forcefully removed. The petition included 11 demands and called on Minister Kasukuwere as follows:
“As women and mothers of this city, we ask that you work towards finding solutions that will cater for both the interests of the local authority and informal traders. Women have to put food on the table. They live at the sharp end of desperation seeing children’s faces showing hunger and this is what motivates them to try and find food. Vendors should not be persecuted for trying to feed their families. We expect you as our Minister to protect the rights of vendors and allow for peaceful trading. The issues we need to be addressed as we dialogue for a lasting solution include:
• City council collect vending fees and also allow Park Rite Africa to collect a second payment. Why did council mandate a parking company to collect weekly payments from vendors? We demand to have affordable standardised monthly fees which can be paid directly to the city council for transparency and accountability.
• We demand receipts for confiscated goods from all police officers seizing these – there must be transparency and accountability and no theft.
• We demand to know where looted goods are taken and the process to help us recover our goods. Vendors should be allowed to reclaim their goods. It is an injustice to give the first lady, Grace Mugabe confiscated goods for her political campaigns. Where is the justice for those affected by this looting?
• City council should have conducted an audit of stand allocation and one person; one stand
• Vendors should be allowed to trade undisturbed on a daily basis. Many vendors have their right to trade disturbed by party youth who come and force vendors to leave their stands and goods to attend party events. This violates their Constitutional freedom of assembly and association (chapter 4, section 58)