Buhera West Member of Parliament Oliver Mandipaka said legislators should not promote lawlessness sin the cities because they wanted votes but must embark on clean politics and educate the people not to do illegal or unlawful things.
Contributing to the debate on the harassment of women vendors, Mandipaka, who is a former police officer, said it was important for people to abide by the law to ensure that there was order and security in the country.
“Now, a caring government will always try to move in and try to support the efforts of the informal sector by at least constructing good facilities for their cause. Once we do that, we then promote our women,” he said.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, it would be unfortunate for this august House to promote lawlessness in our cities because we want votes. I think it is high time that we embark on clean politics, where we educate our people to make them alert to those actions that we deem are illegal or unlawful.
“So, it is very important for our people to abide by the laws that come out of this august House and that compliance will ensure that there is order and security and that it is a healthy environment, so to speak, unlike a situation where there is a lot of lawlessness in our cities.”
Mandipaka described police officers who demanded sexual favours from vendors as rogues and said they should be arrested. He also said municipal and state police confiscated vendors’ goods to stop the vendors from continuing to commit a crime.
MR. MANDIPAKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I was itching to make a contribution to this very important motion by Hon. Nyamupinga. Allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to air my views on this subject under discussion. Mr. Speaker Sir, I think women in Zimbabwe should be congratulated for having worked tirelessly to make sure that this economy which is under sanctions is sustained to this present day. They have fended for their families, have worked for our economy and have done everything possible in their power to make sure that they sustain our lives.
Allow me, Mr. Speaker Sir, to call upon this House to give a round of applause to our women in Zimbabwe for that effort. I went through the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Economic Transformation (ZIM ASSET) document by the Government of Zimbabwe. If you look at this document, there is talk towards an empowered society and a growing economy. Perhaps, what that means is that it is the vision of ZIM ASSET that as a nation, we must move towards an empowered society. So, we can empower our society by various means, for example, people going about vending legally. That is one way of empowering our women and men folk.
Having said that Madam Speaker, I would like to call upon the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, in looking at this motion, to initially revive the formal sector. I think that is very important for us to do as a nation. We need to ensure that we revive the formal sector so that at the end of the day, we address issues to do with unemployment and we also address issues to do with our own laws. So, it is paramount that we revive the formal sector.
In the absence of physical space, I would also like to urge the Government to move with speed in formalising the informal sector. I think it is a brilliant idea that once we formalise the informal sector, we are able to, at the end of the day, rope in the US$7 billion that we hear is roaming around in the informal sector as a Government.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to slightly differ with the observations made by one of our hon. Member of Parliament, Hon. Zindi, in terms of gender imbalance and in terms of gender disparity in this country. I would like to applaud the Government of Zimbabwe for having opened the flood gates for women to also participate and have equal opportunities in this country. That is the reason why we have the Vice President being a woman in this country. It means the Government of Zimbabwe is cognisant of the fact that women also need equal opportunities.
Yes, the hon. member who moved this motion was quite sincere about women causes and she was justified in so doing, but at least I thought that she would also speak on behalf of men that are engaged in vending everywhere around the country because she does not represent the interests of women alone. Even in her constituency, she also represents the interests of men. So, we also have men who are engaged in vending.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would agree with the hon. members that have spoken before me that there is need for us, as a nation, to ensure that we designate places that are ideal for conducting business, for our men and women that are into vending. It is paramount and very important that we have these places but unfortunately, Mr. Speaker Sir, it would be unfortunate if anyone in this House is offended with what I am going to say. If Ian Douglas Smith was alive, he would not have anticipated the numbers of people that have now left their rural areas to stay in Harare, in the great city for various reasons.
Rural to urban migration is on the increase and everyone thinks that if you go to Harare, then you are going to earn a living. That is why we have quite a large number of people that are into vending to sustain their families, but I would like to urge the Government that when they embarked on rural development by way of growth points, there is a need for the Government to make sure that these growth points are developed so that we do not have this influx of people travelling from various rural areas getting into Harare because we have got a lot of congestion that we cannot run away from. Our city would not look nice with the kind of congestion that we have. I think we need to have some kind of semblance of some order in the great city. That is why hon. members in this august House are advocating for well designated places where people can sell their wares.
Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir, we have heard talk of the municipal police or the ZRP enforcing various pieces of legislation to make sure that there is some semblance of order. I would see nothing wrong in them enforcing these laws, but what I would urge this august House, is to perhaps, look at those colonial laws that may not be finding space in the current environment in which we are because we are talking of large numbers of people having gone into vending because of the economic hardships that they are experiencing.
Now, a caring Government will always try to move in and try to support the efforts of the informal sector by at least constructing good facilities for their cause. Once we do that, we then promote our women. Mr. Speaker Sir, it would be unfortunate for this august House to promote lawlessness in our cities because we want votes. I think it is high time that we embark on clean politics, where we educate our people to make them alert to those actions that we deem are illegal or unlawful. So, it is very important for our people to abide by the laws that come out of this august House and that compliance will ensure that there is order and security and that it is a healthy environment, so to speak, unlike a situation where there is a lot of lawlessness in our cities.
When the City of Harare was constructed, even prior to our independence, you would appreciate that the regime that was there did not anticipate that there would be such large numbers of vendors that we now seem to see. The reason why we have these numbers is because sanctions are actually biting. There is no reason why we should run away from that fact; that is why almost everyone wants to irk a living through selling, but suffice to say, it is important for the Government to ensure that we construct facilities and areas where our people can sell their wares and Government getting something from the informal sector.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I have heard talk about Municipal Police and the ZRP asking for sexual favours from those vendors that they would have arrested. It would be unfortunate if we had that kind of a police force in this country and I would not want to believe that we have such a police force. I would urge the police authorities to move with speed and prosecute those rogue elements if they are there, from what we have heard from Hon. Nyamupinga, those that ask for sexual favours from our vendors, but suffice to say also Mr. Speaker, that when our police is enforcing these rules and regulations supporting the cause of our municipal police.
The reason why they confiscate the wares that these vendors will be selling is that they want to prohibit the continuance of a commission of a crime. Members of Parliament, I think should also appreciate the fact that what they will be trying to do, is to make sure that they prohibit the furtherance of the commission of a crime. So, Mr. Speaker Sir, I wholly support this motion. We should also congratulate Hon. Nyamupinga who has been seconded by Hon. Matibenga for coming out clearly about this motion and encouraging the Government of the day, the Executive, to move with speed to ensure that we upgrade our facilities where our people are able to be selling their wares.
I also would want in my debate to encourage the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, as Government, to understudy best practices within the region so that they bring these best practices to the fore. If we are capable of enforcing some of the things that we learn from within or outside the region, which is better for our people, then let it be. Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to add my voice and support this very important motion which empowers both our women and our men in the informal sector.