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20 October


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Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations was called for a negotiations meeting with City of Harare Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube on 19 October 2017. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss on the challenges of what the authorities are doing through Operation Restore Order where Vendors are removed from the streets in a way which is sometimes a bit harsh. ZCIEA wrote a letter to the Acting Town Clerk requesting for an urgent meeting to discuss possible interventions which can be a win-win situation in terms of addressing challenges of vending in the streets without victimising or harassing these traders. It is a result of this request that the Acting Town Clerk called for this meeting where other Informal Economy Organisations were also invited.
Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube applauded ZCIEA for its efforts starting from the clean-up campaign and the request for an all stakeholders meeting/dialogue as means of coming up together with a way forward.
Mrs Ncube welcomed all stakeholders and said the reason for this dialogue is for us to discuss with all stakeholders on the state of city and come up with ideas, solutions and way forward from everyone concerned. As you all know Harare CBD is an inclusive city from big businesses, small traders to informal economy traders, the city accommodates everyone. She gave an overview or state of informal trade in the CBD stating some vendors were selling their wares everywhere some blocking pavements and leaving waste anywhere, some selling clothes in front of a shop which sell clothes yet the owner of the shop is paying rates to the state, pushcarts were found everywhere blocking vehicles yet they are forbidden in the CBD. President then ordered us to maintain order in the CBD. She further said on behalf of the City of Harare our City can accommodate everyone, there is no need for roads to be blocked by pushcarts making it impossible for cars to move freely, there is no need for commuter omnibus drive on top of pavements crossing from one side to the other, we need order, we need laws to be respected. We are all here because we want to work together and come up with solutions and frameworks on what should we do for everyone in the City to be happy i.e big businesses must be happy, small businesses must be happy, pedestrians must be happy and everyone must be happy. Let’s discuss and share ideas and come with frameworks for redeveloping our city. Laws must be respected and followed for example vendors should trade from designated areas, and those cooking food should go to industries, vendors should not sell goods from mainline streets or at robots, and we should all maintain order. The operation which we started, everyone selling or working at undesignated points should be removed and they should trade form designated areas. We have the issue of commuter omnibus blocking roads and now we are saying they should go to holding bays when they are not loading. This whole situation leaves the city so dirty because traders and the public are leaving papers and waste anywhere, that is why we want discuss and find a way forward. The other problem is noise nuisance e.g some selling CDs while playing that music at high volume disturbing those working in office. Let’s rebuilding our city so that we work and live peacefully, maybe we need more spaces in buildings than the streets only. How can we change our culture of throwing litter everywhere?. Some organisations wrote letter to Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet because they have members who were working form designated areas but where given letter asking them to leave, so such issues will not be discussed here since they will have a chance to meet Minister of State.

Chairman of Harare Chamber of SMEs said there is need for City of Harare to consult (vendors) people of the ground than making decisions in their offices which affect the lives of poor citizens of Zimbabwe who are trying to earn a living the streets. Let’s work together, consult all stakeholders.
ZCIEA National Women Chairlady Charity Mandishona said as ZCIEA we have started engagements with the City of Harare, local Government and even the Office of the President and Cabinet. We started clean-up campaign in June and it was unfortunate that some informal economy organisations were not part of that clean-up campaign. We are the one who work here in Harare and people are earning their livelihoods from selling the streets, so let’s work together so that vendors are able to put food on the table. ZCIEA Members cleaned Harare CBD streets and markets from Fourth street terminus, Ruzende street, Market square bus terminus and Copa Cabanna bus terminus on 3 August 2017 during a clean-up and wellness campaign under the theme,"A healthy nation starts with a clean environment, it is your responsibility. During that clean-up campaign we educated vendors and public on the importance of keeping the environment clean. She further said this operation really shocked us because we were working with Ambassador Mubi on what should be done to improve lives of informal traders because it’s not proper to wake up say you are to be removed from the streets without a fall back plan. She gave an example of Zambia there was an outbreak of cholera they have consultation with vendors and they have a fall back plan and come up with solution that they were not supposed sell ready to eat food in the streets but some goods were allowed to be sold. We are appealing to City fathers and Government before removing people from streets please come up with fall back plan and if possible give space like ZCIEA we are giving you this area to manage put your members in that area.
Most of the stakeholders had a chance to air their grievances and also proposed way forward. Nothing concrete was agreed on this dialogue but it paved way for consultations of all stakeholders involved and proved the fact that working will help rebuilding our city and other hand sustaining lives of informal economy traders rather than fighting.

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