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'Indefinite lockdown is a sinister ploy to deny vendors a livelihood' - triple jeopardy of living in a pariah state

19 May 2020 at 18:56hrs | Views
Mnangagwa was confident his "Zimbabwe is open for business!" clarion call would open the flood gate of investors and lenders and kick-start the country's economy. The economy had stalled following decades of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and rank lawlessness which had forced investors to shied away from doing business in Zimbabwe.

Investors are a shrewd lot, they were not fooled by the musical chairs game of the November 2017 coup, they knew it was not enough to transform the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu-PF party into democratic party. By blatantly rigging the July 2018 elections Mnangagwa confirmed beyond doubt that Zimbabwe was indeed still a pariah state, just as it was during Mugabe's days.

The failure to revive the economy is the one thing that has irked Mnangagwa. The growing army of vendors eking a living sell all manner of trinkets and rubbish was a daily reminder of his failure.

"Whilst almost all sectors of the economy have opened up without much restrictions, the informal sector in yesterday's announcement was said to begin a phased reopening. Considering the number of our membership and indeed those reliant on vending in general, there is no specific mention of when we can safely begin the reconstruction of our livelihoods," Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) said.

"We urge the authorities to look into this issue with the urgency it requires. Of further concern is that this indefinite extension further impacts upon the construction and completion of new vending sites as we fear this maybe used as an excuse to keep vendors from plying their trade and providing for their families."

There is no denying that Zimbabwe's level 2 lockdown is designed to keep the vendors off the streets. This is not the first time Zanu-PF has tried to hide the poor and destitute in society.

Remember the rounding up of the prostitutes and sending them to the farms, "minda mirefu", before the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meeting in 1991. Ever since the regime has conducted several Operation Murambatsvina (Remove dirty) to destroy the shanty dwellings and selling stalls used by the poor and vendors. The regime has used the lockdown as the cover to destroy the vendors' stall and force them off the streets.   

The regime promised to provide food to the needy during the lockdown but has failed to do so. Frankly, everyone knew this was just another empty promise by regime.

With unemployment now a nauseating 90% the vendors are now more than just an embarrassment to this Zanu-PF government, they are a serious threat to regime's continued iron grip on power. The poor have not only grown into a multitude but worse still their economic condition has become intolerable. The fear of the people's bottled anger bursting into a tsunami is real.

No one should ever be denied a livelihood and a chance to live. Especially when those denying vendors a livelihood are the ones whose misrule has left millions of our people with no other choice other than eke a living as a vendor.

But such is the sickening triple jeopardy of being poor in a pariah state; the tyrants deny you a meaningful say in the governance of the country, rob you blind and, to add insult to injury, blame you for being poor. They are so ashamed of you, they want you died!

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