Informal traders in Zimbabwe, who were given 48 hours two days ago to leave undesignated selling points in urban areas but vowed to stay put, have criticized President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for avoiding discussions with them for political purposes.
Some of the vendors told VOA Livetalk that they are not happy with Mnangagwa whose government is continuing with policies of the previous regime led by ousted leader Robert Mugabe.
“We are surprised that we are being given ultimatums while Mnangagwa’s government has avoided us. The president doesn’t want to sit down with us so we can talk about our problems. He has gone to China, Mozambique, South Africa … and met with various organizations but does not want to talk to us,” said Livetalk guest Debra Mukasa, a member of the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association.
Mukasa said they have tried to hold a meeting with Mnangagwa but his office has turned down their requests “for political reasons”.
Her views were echoed by Samuel Wadzayi, director of Vendors’ Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation, who noted that “we are really disappointed by the ultimatum given to vendors and other people by the Mnangagwa government.”
Wadzayi said Mnangagwa should address the most basic economic fundamentals before threatening to unleash the Zimbabwe Defence Forces of vendors, pirate taxi drivers and other people struggling to make ends meet.
“His government should create jobs and then people will move out of the streets without being forced to do so,” he said.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are now engaged in informal trading due to lack of employment opportunities as the country’s economy has declined to unimaginable proportions.
According to independent economists, Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate now stands at almost 90%.