Police should respect vendors and treat them with dignity because whatever they are selling some of them could be using the money to educate the president of tomorrow, the Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana Lucia Matibenga said this week.
Seconding the motion on the harassment of women vendors, Matibenga said vendors had rights under the constitution and these had to be respected. Besides, it was now recognised that the informal sector was growing faster than the formal sector and providing a source of living for most Zimbabweans.
“So when we find these vendors on undesignated places, we can arrest them, and even if they seem to outrun the policemen, they will be caught. They cannot outrun the policemen and we should catch them with dignity. They should not assault them, especially when taking them into their lorries or tractor trailers. We should know that these people also have rights enshrined in the Constitution.
“So, my plea to policy makers and those who send the municipal police and the ZRP to enforce the implementation of the policies must know that these people they are after have got their rights as human beings. Do not forget that whatever she is vending, the money probably is educating the president of tomorrow,” she said.
*MRS MATIBENGA: I rise to support the motion which was moved by our Chairperson of the Committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development. This motion was conceived by the whole Committee after looking at the difficulties that the women are facing.
I know that this motion is starting by addressing unemployment. I want to add as well another term which is “under employment” so that we will tackle the issue holistically. We can differ in terms of unemployment percentages but the truth is that there are no jobs which are well paying, whether monthly or fortnightly and these are very few.
Our economy is growing in terms of informal sector. There were some who were very adamant saying that the informal trade can be controlled. The truth is that, this is what we are faced with. The informal sector is going to grow forever and ever.
What we need to do now is to look at it squarely and say if the informal economy is growing so rapidly when the formal economy is shrinking when we are in charge, where should we look at, informal or formal sector? I would want to ask a question that the mover has really articulated on this motion.
Those who are vending in the streets, who are they really? I see that they are people just like us. They are supporters of political parties. They are the ones who do the sloganeering when we are towards elections. When I look at them, they are our families. They are our mothers and sisters. When I look at it, most of them are women and children who are not going to school.
If I have categorised all these age groups, it means that I have included the higher percentage of the people in this land. If we craft our policies forgetting this large percentage of our population, it means there is nothing that we are doing. It means we are working for nothing. That is why I wanted to first of all distinguish who these vendors are.
Most of us here have been voted into this House by these people. They support our country because what they sell is for them to support their families including education of their children up to university level.
Now that we see that they are using undesignated places, there are issues that they have rights as people. I want to thank the Zimbabweans who contributed towards the writing of the supreme law of the land. We wrote so much in terms of human rights as contained in Section 51 and the right to personal security under Section 52 and I can mention all the sections which speak on human rights.
So when we find these vendors on undesignated places, we can arrest them, and even if they seem to outrun the policemen, they will be caught. They cannot outrun the policemen and we should catch them with dignity. They should not assault them, especially when taking them into their lorries or tractor trailers. We should know that these people also have rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Going further in the Constitution, we also find that there are prisoners’ rights. Those rights should be upheld and it does not mean that when you are convicted, you must die. Fifty-two percent (52%) of our women population, most of them are the vendors in the streets.
So, my plea to policy makers and those who send the municipal police and the ZRP to enforce the implementation of the policies must know that these people they are after have got their rights as human beings. Do not forget that whatever she is vending, the money probably is educating the president of tomorrow.
Madam Speaker, I would also want to add on what Hon. Nyamupinga has said. When we were working on this motion, we came across The Herald of 14th July, 2014 which contained the headline which said, “Councils to Amend Colonial Laws”. Then it said the other colonial law is the Town and Country Planning Act. If you look closely on that piece of legislation, it designates places for vending and churches in a town. If this law is outdated, it means that what the law says and what is happening now is no longer compatible.
The law is now obsolete. So these laws should be revisited. We know that as a House, when it comes to the local authorities, we have our limits but this is where the issue is. The laws should be amended. We have changed in terms of fashion and we have moved. We used to wear mariposa but now, we are wearing these nice shoes.
Hon. Nyamupinga touched on the issue of the construction of vending places for the vendors. We should also consult these vendors when deciding the places where we should erect the markets. They are very organised and have their own associations. In other cities, they have their own associations. We should look for such representatives and consult them if we decide to construct those places where they can be housed for vending purposes.
We cannot approach them individually but we can go through their associations. Those people will advise us on proper areas where we can put the markets. Those are our eyes on the grassroots and they will tell us where markets are needed and will put their house in order. It can happen that you can build very nice market places but no one may go there because they will be out of reach of people.
Let me share with you what I have observed as happening in other cities. In Gweru, there is a market place where people during weekends and public holidays are allowed to sell their wares. What the council does is that, it closes Third Street, Robert Mugabe Way and Leopold Takawira. Then all the people will be free to use that part of town.
People are aware of that arrangement and that is where our boutiques are and every Saturday, people go to Kotamayi to buy cheap wares. It is very orderly and it is possible to do what people want. What you can do is just to consult them so that they will come up with these brilliant ideas.
Madam Speaker, what I would want to say is that, this is a very important issue and I think in all our deliberations, we should put our minds together and look at the informal economy. Economists say it is a survival economy and what I am saying is that, this is the place where our supporters spend most of their time and we should not make it just a survival market but it should be a proper workplace where people earn their survival. Thank you Madam President.