VENDORS’ unions yesterday reacted angrily to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s disclosures that all second-hand clothes seized from informal traders by municipal and State security agents were being given to her for distribution to Zanu PF members.
Promise Mkwananzi, director of the Zimbabwe Informal sector Organisation said the First Lady must be ashamed for uttering such words and they expected her to help the informal traders improve their welfare.
“We know that Zanu PF creates chaos so that they could thrive on it and make a political strategy. But the most embarrassing part is that this is being done by a woman who knows very well that most of the vendors who lose their goods are fellow women,” Mkwananzi said.
“She must stop it and start to help these informal traders rise and become self-supportive people.”
The First Lady on Thursday sensationally claimed that the 150 bales she donated at a rally at Murombedzi Growth Point had been seized by municipal, State security agents and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and given to her for distribution to ruling party supporters.
National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) director Stanley Zvorwadza, said the statement by the First Lady confirmed that Zanu PF politicians do not care about the welfare of informal traders, but were concerned with retaining power.
“The Zimbabwe political leadership survives on corruption. They create a scenario where they can fleece from people and which benefit them directly. We are not amused with that but it is something which confirms the Zanu PF culture,” he said.
“What pains most is that these vendors are victims of bad governance who are trying to make a living through selling second hand clothes. They are not stealing from anyone but selling goods that have a ready market. Here comes a woman whom we respect and look up to as the First Lady saying she gets these goods for free that would have been confiscated. To us it is very painful,” Zvorwadza said.
Due to economic hardship facing the country, many jobless people have ventured into vending to sustain their families and selling of second-hand clothes is one them.
Government recently banned importation and sale of secondhand clothes before State and municipal security officers pounced on vendors and seized their wares. newsday