GWERU – The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has blasted Bulawayo City Council for chasing vendors who were selling their wares from the streets of Zimbabwe’s second-largest city last week.
Speaking to journalists in Gweru, ZCTU secretary general Kudakwashe Munengiwa said they were appalled by Bulawayo City Council’s resolution to drive away vendors from the streets when the same local authority had not provided vending stalls.
“People are not in the streets vending because they like it, but because it is a source of life.
“We are worried when they are chased away by municipal police,” he said.
Munengiwa said issues to do with the informal sector are serious as that is where most people are employed.
He said they are engaging local authorities at their apex level through the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe.
“Local authorities have to provide a platform so that vendors operate within the law. We cannot have a situation whereby people are chasing each other every day. We have engaged them but we are yet to find a solution.
“You cannot remove people from where they are working without an alternative,” he said.
Munengiwa also said the assault of vendors by municipal police brings conflict between two groups of workers.
“Council police are workers and vendors are also workers who are trying to eke a living for their families.
“We want to bring peace between those two contesting constituencies,” he said.
The police confirmed the disturbances that happened in Bulawayo saying that the injured had been taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals.
“ZRP confirms a shooting incident in which three people were injured after Bulawayo City Council Police fired rubber bullets to disperse a crowd which had gathered to demonstrate against an operation targeting illegal vendors in Bulawayo CBD in the morning,” the police said on the microblogging site Twitter.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Nick Mangwana took a swipe at human rights activists for turning their backs on human rights violations by BCC.
Commenting on the microblogging site Twitter, Mangwana said, “@CityofBulawayo shot and seriously injured common people trying to eke a living. The deafening silence from the so-called ‘Human Rights Defenders’ betrays their politics. Do human rights violations have a totem now?”