By Alois Vinga
MDC Alliance has slammed President Emmerson Mnangagwa for failing to come up with a relief strategy for the country’s informal sector when he relaxed his lockdown measures Friday to allow some businesses to operate.
Announcing the 14-day extension of the country’s lockdown against the spread of Covid-19, Mnangagwa allowed industry to start operating but maintained the informal sector shall remain inactive.
The informal sector employs the greater majority of the country’s working population and has often be hailed as having relieved the burden of creating jobs from the shoulders of government.
In a statement Saturday, MDC secretary for projects, livelihoods and entrepreneurship, Sesel Zvidzai Mnangagwa was working against the interests of the poor majority.
“The announcement of a further 14 days extension under the new restrictions seems to have favoured the rich and privileged only at the expense of the long suffering poor marginalised masses such as those in the informal sector,” Zvidzai said,
The party argued the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions was biased in favour of big companies such as mining, manufacturing and commerce.
Zvidzai said the informal sector employed the majority.
“…Hence the people’s party (MDC) expected some serious considerations to be given to the informal sector but is shocked to see that this most important sector has once again been overlooked and unkindly treated,” Zvidzai said.
The MDC argues the prolonged lockdown period left the poor majority unable to put descent meals on the table.
“The lockdown extension will without doubt exacerbate the plight of the majority of poor urbanites whose livelihoods are hinged on vending and other informal activities,” Zvidzai said.
“What makes it even worse is that the relevant authorities have made pronouncements on rentals and shut a source of livelihood for pensioners and many others whose only source of income is rentals income.
“We refuse to be part of a fight against the poor and marginalised communities. Social safety nets should be upscaled so as to help in catering for the people whose livelihoods have been destroyed by a combination of Covid-19 and bad socio-economic policies.”