Human rights lobby group Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has expressed concern on the ongoing demolition of vending structures in Harare saying at a time where compassionate is needed the state has inflicted more injury to its citizens.
In a statement, Zimrights said;
“ZimRights notes with concern the ongoing demolition of vending structures which began in Mbare on 18 April 2020 and that so far spread to Highfields, Chitungwiza, Glen Norah and Kambuzuma. At a time when Zimbabwe expects compassionate leadership in the face of the devastating effect of COVID 19 measures on suffering Zimbabweans, the Zimbabwean state has decided to inflict further injury on its people. Zimbabweans are struggling to put food on their tables.”
The organisation says the structures were a source of livelihoods for 90% of Zimbabweans as they cannot access formal employment.
“The demolished structures were the sole means of livelihoods for around 90% of Zimbabweans who fail to secure gainful and formal employment which largely resulted from bad governance. We believe bad choices, corruption and misplaced priorities by the state have contributed to the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, in turn driving enterprising Zimbabweans to engage in honest and non-criminal activities to put food on their tables.
“It is disconcerting to note the ambush – style used to demolish the structures, akin to kicking a man when he is down. Ordinary Zimbabweans are starving during this lockdown where their government does not have a rescue plan for them. The demolitions, without a proper and viable alternative, constitute an infringement of people’s economic rights. Indeed, Section 13 of the Zimbabwean Constitution speaks on the need for the State and all its institutions to take measures to promote private initiative and self –reliance,” said the pressure group.
ZimRights called on the “government to respect the rights of its citizens to earn a decent living and immediately make available viable alternatives to the affected citizens as well as take serious measures to resuscitate the economy. Where allocations of vending sites is to be done, we call on the responsible authorities to do so in a transparent and non-partisan manner.”
The City of Harare took advantage of the lockdown to destroy market stalls and vending structures in Harare and has sparked widespread condemnation from various groups.