PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s government is terrified of “an uprising fronted by vendors” hence it has resorted to strong arm tactics to remove them frpm the streets, the Zimbabwe Informal Sector’s Organization (Ziso) said Friday.
The group that represents thousands of informal traders who have rejected two government ultimatums to vacate their stalls in urban areas, condemned the recent forced removal of informal miners in the Mazowe Valley.
“Ziso suspects that there may be underlying political dynamics related to the internal Zanu PF implosion and, on the one hand a paranoid government so frightened of an uprising that may arise as a result of its failure to full fill its constitutional obligations and electoral promises to create employment for its citizens thus has resorted to decimate any form organized gathering by people making an honest living,” a statement from the outfit said.
The vendors group urged government to immediately stop “its phobic attitude towards the informal sector and halt its crackdown on players in the sector in particular artisanal miners at Kitsiyatota”.
Ziso said government “should be thankful and embrace players in the informal sector as they have assisted a clueless government by creating employment for themselves, in the wake of its dismal failure to full fill the 2 million jobs electoral promise”.
Some of the uprisings in North Africa that toppled longstanding regimes between 2011 and 2012 were started by vendors.
The vendors group said the evictions have created a humanitarian crisis.
“The knee jerk eviction carried out without prior notice have created a humanitarian crisis in Bindura as hundreds of miners from outside Bindura have been left stranded after being forced to abandon their gold ore at the mercy of Zanu PF bigwigs who control the mining activities at Kitsiyatota.
“The crackdown was brutal that desperate miners, who were not given a chance to wind up the operations by the merciless riot police, ended up selling their mining equipment like generators for as low as $5 just to enable them to travel to their respective homes,” Ziso said.
The group said it feared that there will be an increase in the criminal activities as stranded miners resort to underhand methods for survival, accusing Mugabe’s wife Grace of being the inspiration behind the proliferation of informal traders.
“The move highlights government`s determination to decimate the very informal sector they encouraged through the ill-advised indigenization and empowerment policy.
The mining activities which were being done under Women in Mining were sanctioned by the First Lady Grace Mugabe when she visited the province during her ‘Meet the People rallies,” the statement said.