9 OCTOBER 2017
ZCIEA PRESS STATEMENT ON ANNOUNCED OPERATION RESTORE ORDER BY ACTING CITY OF HARARE TOWN CLERK
We the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations are saddened by the imposed decision by Harare City Council Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube ‘Operation Restore Order” after the comments by His excellency President Robert Mugabe on the state of Harare Central Business District (CBD) on Saturday 7 October 2017. While ZCIEA is in process of negotiating with the Government through various Ministries and Local Authorities on best models that can be used to harmonise the operation of informal traders, it will be a disaster or catastrophe to implement an operation likened to Operation Murambatsvina of 2005 whose effects are still being felt to this date. The laws and regulations which govern the informal economy are very much outdated and informal economy traders are always criminalised or termed illegal. We believe section 24 of the Zimbabwean Constitution must be observed in this time and age where the economy is highly informalised. These people are trading in streets for one simple reason to earn a living in a harsh economy because there is no formal employment opportunities. The vending sites which were designated out of the CBD are not accessible to customers because they are very far and the accessible sites are no longer enough to accommodate these street traders who are hunting for that dollar which is circulating in the CBD.
As ZCIEA we have not ignored these challenges and have been busy negotiating for harmonised approaches to address the Harare CBD challenges since January 2017, through engagements with the Minister of Local Government Honorable Saviour Kasukuwere, City of Harare Director of Housing Department where we submitted proposals and the Department of Health in the Office of the President and Cabinet being led by Ambassador Mubi who is the Director of Public Affairs in the Office of the President. We believe consultative dialogue and all stakeholders action plan is the proper way to address these challenges and not imposition of ultimatums which causes chaos and confusion. We therefore urge Harare City Council Acting Town Clerk to follow up on these efforts and deliberations which we are making without victimising the targeted vendors. We have reference of the proposal we submitted In January to the Minister of Local Government Honourable Savoir Kasukuwere which spoke on how to promote cleanliness by vendors in the CBD through an all stakeholders approach. We also participated in the Harare CBD Clean-up and Wellness campaign where 300 of our CBD members also cleaned the CBD as a sign to show the commitment by organised traders in the city to be orderly. We have also submitted a proposal to the City of Harare Director of Housing which spoke to all stakeholders negotiations for a harmonised operational environment for informal traders and Local Authorities that promotes order in the CBD. We have been engaging in weekly meetings since august 3 with OPC department of Health as a build-up to come up with collective and harmonised solutions to rescue the state of the CBD. We therefore, request the government to consider such efforts and allow space for practical solutions to be realised. In an economy where 94.5% are earning a living out of informal employment, it can never be an overnight dream to bring back sanity in the city of Harare, rather this requires proper dialogue and solution based approach which gradually weans out people from the CBD streets without victimisation because they are equally citizens of Zimbabwe who have their rights to earn a living of which majority are women (Zimbabwe Constitution section 13). Whilst his excellency President Robert Mugabe, has clearly lamented the state of the Harare CBD and the need for it to be in order, we urge the acting Harare Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube, Minister of Local Government Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Home Affairs not to react harshly to the situation, but rather call for a stakeholders’ meeting which will implore practical and harmonised solutions that are realistic and beneficiary to the nation. We believe this is the best way to address this challenge.
We have therefore written letters to all the concerned offices for an urgent dialogue on this matter.
ZCIEA SECRETARY GENERAL