Independent estimates show that Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is well above 80 percent. Since 2000 when the Zanu (PF) government embarked on a fast track land redistribution exercise that forced off some 5,000 commercial white farmers, industry has drastically gone down and the majority of companies have either closed shop or are battling to survive.Leaving the people of Zimbabwe much worse off than when they were 'exploited'. Now individuals must eke out a living however they can;
Except when she got sick or went to attend a friend’s or relative’s funeral, Gacha has been coming to her vending space on a daily basis for the past 18 years.
.... "This is my office and I have raised four kids working from here. Just as other people put suits to go their offices, so do I don these humble clothes and apron to my own type of office,” Gacha told The Zimbabwean [newspaper].That's the story of one widow with four children to take care of. She sells cigarettes, candy, whatever other people will buy. She has plenty of company in Mugabe's planned economy.
Today, scores of other women, men and teenagers have crammed themselves on the same pavement and business is low. Every day, they play hide and seek with municipal police officers who confiscate their wares and force them to pay a fine at the bustling police station.Move along, nothing to be sold here...where the customers are;
Municipal staff and self-designated land barons have been moving around urging the street hawkers to accept vending cards and move from the city centre after government clamped down on them. Some have moved but the majority has remained defiant even after numerous clashes and arrests.
Said Stella Ncube, 32, who sells vegetables close to a municipal office in the same area as Gacha: “What is the point in going to a place where people won’t come and buy? The zones that they (government officials) have said we must go to are too far away.”And leave the business space to the privileged;
To make matters worse, municipal officials are grabbing most of the stands and subletting them, according to a recent statement by the Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organisation (ZISO).Quite a country. Street vendors even have an organization.
In an interview, the ZISO director, Promise Mkwananzi, said corruption was adding to the woes of the vendors. “It is ironic and tragic that the vendors who are struggling to make ends meet are being preyed upon by greedy officials.
“Municipal police have been pressing the vendors to pay bribes so that they are not arrested or tend to consficate their wares, severely affecting their business,” said Mkwananzi.At least those commercial white farmers aren't around prospering through the immiseration of the workers.