The group said they pledged their unequivocal solidarity with vendors and informal traders in Harare.
"We strongly condemn and take this as slap on citizens of Zimbabwe who are bearing the brunt of economic meltdown, industrial collapse among many myriad of economic challenges. The ordinary women, youth and the disabled are eking a livelihood on the streets as desperate survival strategy since the economy is on the doldrums. Statistics reveal that over US$ 7 billion is circulating in the informal sector," said the vendors in a statement.
"It is mind boggling that President Mugabe when he was addressing delegates at the Small to Medium Enterprises ( SME Expo} in April 2017 at the Zanu PF headquarters urged Zimbabweans to create their own jobs in the Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) sector instead of waiting to be employed. In light of his advice for people to create their own jobs and his current attack on the informal traders and vendors clearly demonstrates a state of confusion and policy proclamation inconsistencies. In addition these utterances also fly in the face of state owned parastatals like NetOne who have also hired scores of young people to be vendors of their One Fusion products."They said their considered view is that the threats on vendors by the President is:
An affront to Section 14 Subsection (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that at all times, the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must ensure that appropriate and adequate measures are undertaken to create employment for all Zimbabweans, especially women and youths.
They said the move is a violation of Section 24 of the Constitution which says that state and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must adopt reasonable policies and measures and provide everyone with an opportunity to work in a freely chosen activity, in order to secure a decent living for themselves and their families.
"His threats also undermine Section 64 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that "Every person has a constitutional right to choose and carry on any profession, trade or practice of a profession, trade or occupation may be regulated by law."
"We therefore call on Civil Society Organizations, Human Rights Lawyers, Residents Associations to come out and stand in solidarity with vendors and informal traders in this hour of need as this is an attack on the only livelihood of the already burdened and suffering citizens," said the vendors.
"We are convinced that an attack on the informal sector will have far reaching consequences such as increasing crime rate, prostitution, spread of HIV and AIDS and people will not be able to fend for their families. We call upon the President to exercise restraint when talking about issues affecting people's lives without proffering any meaningful alternatives. We urge for a National Dialogue on the Informal Sector involving all relevant stakeholders."
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