Thursday, 9 April 2020


OPPOSITION MDC mayors have come out guns blazing accusing the ruling Zanu PF party of working to hijack a social welfare programme funded by the World Bank running into millions of United States dollars to cushion informal traders during the 21-day national lockdown period by registering its members as vendors so that they could benefit from the scheme.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lockdown order became effective on Monday last week, but unlike in other countries, government did not provide social grants to cushion informal traders against loss of business and income.

The World Bank then chipped in, offering US$10 per day for each registered vendor and asked councils across the country to submit lists of registered vendors in their areas of jurisdiction to receive the money.

Most cities and towns are led by MDC mayors.

Mutare and Masvingo councils supplied lists of 3 298 and 1 400, respectively, while Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Kwekwe, among other major cities and towns, are yet to submit their lists.

The mayors claimed that Zanu PF started to roll out a parallel registration programme picking names from its cell registers to ensure its members benefit from the fund.

Mutare mayor Blessing Tandi confirmed that the World Bank approached his council for a list of registered vendors, and that Zanu PF had hijacked the programme and forwarded lists of its members to the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry.

I received a report from the council that the World Bank wanted to cushion informal traders in Mutare during this 21-day lockdown and they requested to use our database for informal traders to compile the list of beneficiaries. We then compiled a list of 3 298 informal traders in our database,” Tandi said.

“We were then surprised when our fellow comrades from Zanu PF started compiling a list of their members in the wards through their chairpersons, saying they wanted to forward it to the Ministry of Social Welfare to be given that money reserved for informal traders.

“They have been going around requesting their members’ NetOne mobile phone numbers saying the ministry wanted to deposit the money for their benefit. Right now I am coming from the district development co-ordinator’s office and he is also compiling his list.” Newsday


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