When four minus two is equal to zero


Full contribution:


MR. MUKANDURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to contribute to this important motion introduced by Hon. Nyamupinga and seconded by Hon. Matibenga.

Mr. Speaker, the problem of vending is not only prevalent in Harare but throughout the country. It is a problem and there should be a solution because people go into the streets to do vending, it is not by choice but that they want to survive. They want to support their families, their children and they want to send their children to school and they have no choice. The formal sector is facing a number of challenges. Mr. Speaker Sir, by and large, we find that our women are exposed to do certain things and for that matter, vending. There are very few men who engage in vending activities because some of them are shy and I can give you an example from my constituency.

There was a school where a child was asked a simple mathematical question. He was asked the question to say, if your father is given four bottles of castle beer and he drinks two bottles, how many bottles are left? His answer was zero. The teacher said the child has failed because out of four bottles of beer and his father drinks two bottles; he said the answer is zero. The child cried and said, my answer is correct because my father does not leave beer. Baba vangu havasiye doro. Nyangwe rakawanda sei vanopedza rose.

This is the reality. We have a problem and we should face the problem head-on. The City of Harare is facing a number of challenges and one of them is vending. We are saying that they should designate places where there are toilet facilities where people have access because they know that money is in the urban areas, in the central business district. The industries are facing a number of challenges and they are following that money not by choice but for the sole reason that they want to survive. Everyone is hunting for that US dollar. It is very difficult to pick up a dollar on the street but you have to work for it in order to earn it and this is one way of survival. It is one way where people sacrifice to make a living.

How can the State or the city councils introduce measures that will support the informal sector because vending is part of the informal sector? There should be a bank that should be created to cater for women who are engaging in informal activities, including the vendors so that they are supported and empowered. In other countries, for example in West Africa in Ghana, women there started their businesses in the informal sector and now they have moved a step further.

The women in West Africa and particularly in Ghana, are controlling the economy because they were given a lot of support by the Government. We should create conditions that are conducive to empower our women because we will be very frank to say that women in this country are hard workers. They are not thieves. Men by and large are always engaged in corrupt activities like stealing and doing A, B, C. They do things that are against the law.

But, these women do not want to go to Mbare-Msika to steal. They say I have a family. Maybe, the husband ran away and went to South Africa because men in Zimbabwe do not want to face problems and they leave the wife and children to suffer. This is the reality and we should be very frank and not be sweeping dirt under the carpet. So, we are appealing to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the City of Harare to designate areas where they build facilities so that our women are engaged in profitable activities of vending. They should construct many market stalls because the informal sector is facing a lot of challenges. This is a reality Mr. Speaker Sir.

On the issue of our law enforcement agencies, in a society or in any organisation, for example, the common say is that, in a basket of apples, you will find that there are one or two apples that are rotten. And, in any society, whether it is in the police force or in the municipal police, there are elements who engage in corrupt activities but we should not condone them. We say that the police force should clean its house and the city council is responsible for those municipal police; the most important thing is to train them to change their attitudes through training. They should respect these vendors because these are human beings.

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that there are basic rights that should be given to a human being and one of them is security. I heard Hon. Chimene saying that she saw some women running as if they were seeing a lion and they were running away from human beings. We have a leadership that is supposed to correct these problems. When I saw this motion, I thought that perhaps I would see the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing or his Deputy listening here because this is an important motion. By and large, we discuss, nothing is done. The motion comes and it is put on the shelves.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we want action, we want to see something done to correct this system. People should live decent lives. They should wake up in the morning knowing that they are going to do A, B, C and D, selling tomatoes, onions and so on in a dignified manner. We cannot say we are an independent state when day in day out, we are running after these poor people, why? Let them conduct their businesses in a dignified manner. Give them good and decent facilities to work from. I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity.


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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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