ZCTU urges stop to Murambatsvina style stall demolitions

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By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called on government to be humane and stop its current demolitions on vendors’s market stalls.

ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo said the workers’ group was dismayed over government’s callous destruction of a source of livelihood for many in a suffering population.

The current demolitions have been conducted in the ostensible bid by authorities to minimise the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Moyo said current demolitions were no different from the 2005 destruction of illegally built homes by government under an operation better known as Murambatsvina (getting rid of filth).

“What is more disturbing is that there was no warning or consultation with those affected by the current wave of clean-up that is reminiscent of the Operation Murambatsvina of 2005,” he said.

Operation Murambatsvina, also officially known as Operation Restore Order, was a large-scale government campaign to rid the country’s urban authorities of slums and structures illegally built separate from council approved structures.

According to United Nations, there were 700 000 Zimbabweans who were affected by the operation.

Added Moyo, “Fifteen years later, the same thing is happening. Thousands of jobless people will find themselves stranded when they return to their vending sites after the current lockdown. They will have nothing to do to fend for their families.”

Similarly, like what is currently happening, the then Robert Mugabe led government claimed Murambatsvina was meant to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious diseases in targeted areas.

“We therefore call upon the authorities to be humane enough considering that the majority of our people rely on informal trade to survive.

“While we understand the need for a healthy environment, the authorities ought to walk the talk and ensure that those who would have lost their only source of livelihood are given alternative sites,” Moyo said.