MP says cut out corruption first- vendors’ market stalls owned by chefs


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A Harare Member of Parliament has called on authorities to cut out corruption within the municipal and Zimbabwe Republic Police and give vendors market stalls instead of giving them to senior council officials or politicians who in turn rented them out vendors.

“If you go to the market stalls and ask who owns them, the people who are selling there are not the people who own those market stalls. It is some of the hon. members who are sitting in here and some of the executives in the councils who own those market stalls and at the end of every day, they collect something like $2 from every market stall. This is the abuse that we are subjecting our women to, Madam Speaker. If those women were fending for themselves and themselves alone, they would survive. But right now, they cannot survive because we are abusing them,” Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure said in Parliament during the debate on the motion on harassment of women vendors.

He said municipal and state police officers should not be allowed to arrest vendors when they were no in uniform because this was open to abuse.

“A police officer arresting a person in the streets must be in uniform. Why do we have clandestine people in the streets where everybody can do that? It is real corruption. The reason why they want to do that is because, if you start negotiating, the officer will be holding you and you start saying, saka wati ndorarama sei? Zvonzi aah! zvirikwaurika iwe ndiwe unotoziva. Do you know what they simply do, dig their hand into the pocket, fork out US$5 and give the officer from behind and the person is released.

“This is how they survive, it is happening on a daily basis and we allow that to happen. Why do we allow that? Even if the woman goes and report that this is what I have done – I paid this person US$10 – nothing happens. Even if we were to ask the Minister of Home Affairs in this House, he will tell you that there is nothing of that nature happening, professing ignorance of something which they all know is happening on a daily basis. That has to be addressed, we have the Minister in the House, I think he must respond to this. This is another problem Madam Speaker, we debate and some Ministers will listen, but no one bothers to stand up and respond to such important motions.”

Madzimure also said space for weekend flea markets must be rented out by councils directly to vendors so that the money can be used to develop cities instead of being rented to individuals who in turn rented it to the vendors. This only promoted corruption.
“It is known that if they are to pay anything, it goes to the local authority for the development of other places which they can later use. However, in our case the money goes to individuals, who do not even pay the local authorities anything. How do we then develop? Therefore, it is important to have a system of promoting even those women whom we have allowed to sell from designated points so that they pay something and they know that no one will harass them from their selling points. In our case, we have everything informal and informal and it does not work.”

 

Full contribution:

MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to support the motion moved by Hon. Nyamupinga which I think is a very important motion. It also exposes us as a people or as a country as far as the issue of development is concerned. I want to remind the House that what the whole world is debating about or talking about this time, is sustainable development.

Madam Speaker, for our women to contribute positively to this economy, the development that they endeavour to do must be something that is sustainable. By so doing, we are laying a proper foundation for the continued contribution by women to the economy. What we must be seized with is to look at the actual architecture of development in Zimbabwe and say, how do we fit in the women? What is happening right now is something which is ad hoc, where we are trying to respond to the trend which we are not in control of and it is very dangerous for us to follow behind. What is important is that the Government recognises the fact that there is an informal sector which is a result of the collapse of the formal sector.

How do we do it then that that informal sector becomes stable and starts bearing fruit? The continued destruction of the formal sector is also not a good sign because the same people who are in the informal sector would want to be supported by the formal sector. It is those people who are formally employed, after they have performed their duties during the day, they are the people who pick up the tomatoes. They are the people who buy the vegetables as they go home. So, there is a strong correlation between the informal sector and the formal sector. We cannot then say, let us hit the final nail on the formal sector and concentrate on the informal sector because the informal sector is supported by the formal sector. So, that is the issue that we have to start concentrating on and see how we can manage it.

Madam Speaker, we also have to realise that for any business venture to succeed, it must have a proper planning. The City Council must understand their situation first and say, how do we control or manage it? Right now, we have market stalls that already exist and they are all occupied. If you go to the market stalls and ask who owns them, the people who are selling there are not the people who own those market stalls. It is some of the hon. members who are sitting in here and some of the executives in the councils who own those market stalls and at the end of every day, they collect something like $2 from every market stall. This is the abuse that we are subjecting our women to, Madam Speaker. If those women were fending for themselves and themselves alone, they would survive. But right now, they cannot survive because we are abusing them.

I think that this has been going on for a very long time and I think that Hon. Nyamupinga and her team must sit down and look at this thing closely. I do not think that it would be a problem for a resolution of council to say, right now, whoever is selling at a market store must own that place. We did it to farmers where someone was walking in and would be declared the owner. Here, we have someone who is sitting here and going to collect money at the end of everyday from a poor woman and the person has another source of income. That is why you see people moving mountains in the Greystone Parks of this world. They are not moving mountains out of the money that they are getting from their jobs but the money from the poor. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- That has to be corrected Madam Speaker.

On the issue of the involvement of the police in policing the city areas, we have got the City Council Municipal Police. These days, you do not even see a single uniformed municipal police officer. I think the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have other more important duties to do than to spend the day chasing women around – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The authority, which is the council, must put its house in order. They must put a plan on how they intend to arrest the situation and offer a solution which must be subjected to debate by the people who are the stakeholders, those people who are involved in vending.

Madam Speaker, it is so painful for us to believe that we still have the 1970’s laws that existed before independence. Those were meant for a few people and here we are now talking of a government of the majority. It is obvious that those laws were not going to be compatible with the current situation. What the ministers should be seized with is to look at the statutes. They are not just filed in their offices but are Acts of Parliament which must continuously be reviewed accordingly and allow the local authorities to subsequently amend their by-laws and produce laws which can cater for the livelihood of our own people.

On the issue of the municipal police, I think that it must be a crime for a municipal police officer to move in plain clothes. Why are they doing that? That is where they just grab a woman even by the waist, you do not even care whose wife you are touching. It is not a good thing Madam Speaker. I have been to some developed countries, you cannot just touch the shoulder of a kid; it is considered to be an abuse, whereas here you have a whole gentleman holding someone’s wife’s waist. That is subjecting our people to certain inhuman levels which are unacceptable.

A police officer arresting a person in the streets must be in uniform. Why do we have clandestine people in the streets where everybody can do that? It is real corruption. The reason why they want to do that is because, if you start negotiating, the officer will be holding you and you start saying, saka wati ndorarama sei? Zvonzi aah! zvirikwaurika iwe ndiwe unotoziva. Do you know what they simply do, dig their hand into the pocket, fork out US$5 and give the officer from behind and the person is released.

This is how they survive, it is happening on a daily basis and we allow that to happen. Why do we allow that? Even if the woman goes and report that this is what I have done – I paid this person US$10 – nothing happens. Even if we were to ask the Minister of Home Affairs in this House, he will tell you that there is nothing of that nature happening, professing ignorance of something which they all know is happening on a daily basis. That has to be addressed, we have the Minister in the House, I think he must respond to this. This is another problem Madam Speaker, we debate and some Ministers will listen, but no one bothers to stand up and respond to such important motions.

I want to repeat the issue of planning. It is important for the City Council to plan, like the example which was used by Hon. Matibenga over what is happening in Gweru but it is not only in Gweru, it is also happening in Central London and Stockholm where you have poverty at a very low level, but they allow their people to exercise the right of learning how to run a business. They will set a Saturday afternoon for certain areas to be declared market stores for that particular day and women will go there.

It is known that if they are to pay anything, it goes to the local authority for the development of other places which they can later use. However, in our case the money goes to individuals, who do not even pay the local authorities anything. How do we then develop? Therefore, it is important to have a system of promoting even those women whom we have allowed to sell from designated points so that they pay something and they know that no one will harass them from their selling points. In our case, we have everything informal and informal and it does not work. So, I strongly support the motion and I think that it is so important and we must give it the attention that it deserves. I thank you.

(10 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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