Simple reflections on ZITF 2018 – Passports must be accessible to all.

Today on 24 April 2018, I visited the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) 2018, one thing that struck me is that, I visited the Registrar Department then made a decision to visit the Passport desk. I asked how long does it take to have a same day Passport.

I was told it takes only few hours in Harare but 24 working hours if you are outside Harare. Something quickly came to my mind, I asked why was it so, that other citizens have to wait for 24 working hours to get a very essential travel document whilst others get it less than 9 hours. It then dawned to me that this deprives other citizens opportunities to clinch business deals in the event they have to travel out of the country on an urgent basis.

I quipped the lady manning the desk that they must decentralise that service as it violates the right to non discrimination of citizens. She politely said I must write my suggestion or comment in their visitors book. I hope my concern will be attended to.

I must say that I also saw not so many small scale business persons exhibiting. I saw majority government departments and its various agencies. I think we must see more traders given an opportunity to exhibit than to see governments seemingly dominating the exhibition not withstanding that they also sell their services or products.

I of course managed to create linkages for the informal economy that I am involved in. I made linkages with Small and Medium Enterprise Development Corporation to see if they can interact with Informal Traders Associations like Bulawayo Vendors Trust. I also made contacts with the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – Companies registration, I was shown a Draft Bill amending the companies inline with #EaseofDoingbusiness.

I of course commend government for taking this initiative.

I also saw that Zanu PF has hired the entire Hall to exhibit whilst other parties at war on names.

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#ZITF2018 roars into life tomorrow, althought it is the glamorous Zimbabwe Trade Expo Extravaganza.

What are low hanging fruits for Bulawayo and any legacy it leaves for Bulawayo besides dead grace as it suffers hosting.

My reality check on current political developments

In this short piece I seek to express my views that may sound unpopular to my friends. I am making a short analysis of political developments in the country.  Firstly, I want to look at the current epoch of having many political parties. In my view, to have many political parties I think it is the democracy that our parents fought for during the liberation struggle, it is good because it gives people a wide array of choices. However having so many parties, I think it is a result of failure by opposition parties to dislodge ZANU PF over successive years, thus many people think they could be the little messiahs, the other point is that almost all the parties seem to be driven by the desire to get positions or get funding from sponsors than to serve the people.

Advent of many political parties poses an inevitable challenge that the electorate may have problems in identifying party symbols in the ballot as some will be having almost similar signs.  Some opposition leaders seemingly are not genuine but driven by greed and to also try and get numbers that may make them access the Political Parties Finances that is parceled out to parties at the expense of service delivery.

However, having many political parties increases political awareness, as many citizens get to interact with different parties, get acquainted to many manifestos and have expanded choices. Sadly for those with a sense of entitlement that they own voters, they will lament the splitting of the votes. It is very myopic to think that human beings permanently support one political party, people ordinarily go with a party that seem to be best serving their interests. In addition, even political party leaders themselves are fluid as they bed hop from one party to the other which best serve their interests. The entitlement notion must be debunked.

The most unfortunate thing is that ZANU PF maybe the outright winner, if things continue as they are, the opposition is disjointed and fighting itself instead of addressing the problems they are facing. Unless the opposition forms an inclusive coalition. ZANU PF stands a chance to romp to victory due to the simple fact that seemingly they have resources, control ideological institutions and stranglehold on repressive state apparatus. I am naysayer, people must forget about prospects for a Government of National Unity, ZANU PF will consolidate its power after elections and opposition parties will go to the oblivion.

My message to the voters in the next election is that they must vote with their conscience, the country need to move away from politics of populism and focus on looking at the caliber of the leader. Populism has led us to vote thieves and power mongers into positions. Especially at local government level lets vote for people who connect with norms and values of the local community, grounded on aspirations of the local communities than opportunists eyeing to line their pockets when they ascend into offices.  Populism have seen councilors bleeding local authorities especially in Bulawayo. Dozens of councilors have been investigated and found guilty of allegedly looting council resources.  Local communities i.e. residents, vendors must stand firm in the next elections and ensure issue representation at local level, kick out all councilors bent on looting council resources.

Shocked at $3 entry fee at Entumbane Complex terminus

On Friday I drove my old Corolla 16 Value into Entumbane Complex terminus. I was shocked at the exorbitant $3 charges we are made to pay at the entrance to drop passengers inside the terminus. Behind me there was South African registered vehicle also took minutes to look for the $3 required.

I think that is why minibus operators are shunning the terminus and creating their own illegal pick up points.

CityofBulawayo then cries that it is prejudiced
revenue while their policies are very unfair.

To make matters worse there are potholes inside the terminus, one wonders where is that money going.

#CityofBulawayo must relook into this. It is very unfair to motorists and to the traveling public as these costs are transferred to them.

#CityofBulawayo must also introduce per minute billing at the entrance. It’s very unfair to charge me $3 when I am just dropping a traveler and staying less than 20mins.

#CityofBulawayo must introduce payment mechanisms that reduce corruption, my analysis was that some motorists enter after paying less having “negotiated” with the authorities at the entrance. My view is that some fees paid do not find their way into council coffers after “negotiations” because the payment method is susceptible to abuse. You just pay the $3 then the security guard opens the gate for you.

It’s high time #CityofBulawayo adopts Hi-Tech boom / toll gates in all terminuses. From Michael Mdladla Ndiweni #mdladlaspeaks

BVTA learns informal sector best practices from Asiye eTafuleni in Durban, South Africa

Bulawayo Vendors Traders Association embarked on a learning visit to Durban, South Africa that sought to understand how the Asiye eTafuleni informal sector organisation influenced the eThekwini Municipality to rescind from its decision to move Warwick Junction Market and assimilate best practices on inclusive city planning and design. The market is a thriving informal market hub in Durban’s inner city. The visit also helped to inform the ongoing BVTA Research and Advocacy project that seeks to provide thought leadership, addressing informal sector policy knowledge gaps and promoting inclusive city design and planning.
The learning visit unraveled how the organisation led to resistance actions against closure of the Warwick Junction Market. The organisation embedded its strategies on; dialogue with the eThekwini Municipality and use of the legal framework and building the urgency of informal workers to resist the relocation efforts.
BVTA used this platform to harness opportunities provided by the twinning agreement between the City of Bulawayo and City of Durban through the EThekwini Municipality that administers the city in South Africa. BVTA believes that the cooperation between the two organisations will help address some of the informal sector socio – economic challenges faced by the two cities.
BVTA`s entourage was comprised of Michael Ndiweni and Debra Mukasa who met Asiye Etafuleni and a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MiT), who have a working partnership with the Asiye eTafuleni informal sector organisation. The parties exchanged ideas on how to harness their experiences, collaborate and support BVTA research project. The BVTA team also had conversations with Dr Trynos Gumbo a researcher at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, who is providing technical support to the Advocacy and Research project.
Key lessons that captivated BVTA from Asiye eTafuleni programming were: the ability of the organisation to document its work, the capacity to model infrastructure, offering training for vendors and allowing informal traders to conduct their own research.
Areas of collaboration between (MiT), Asiye eTafuleni and BVTA were drawn, and these consisted of city planning and infrastructure modeling, education and rights, waste management and developing urban vendors literacy. The visit provided mutual benefits to the two organisations as they pursued plans for Trans-frontier initiatives to address common fundamental challenges faced by vendors and informal workers in the two countries. BVTA greatly benefited from this trip as Asiye eTafuleni shared their insights on informal sector business and gave ideas through sharing their experiences and strengths.

Vendors demand arrest of money changers

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/05/02/vendors-demand-arrest-money-changers/

BULAWAYO Vendors and Traders’ Association (BVTA) has rapped the
government and local authorities for clamping down on its members,
while illegal cash dealers are left to operate freely on street
corners.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI – NewsDay Newspaper, Zimbabwe

In a statement to mark commemorations of International Workers’ Day
yesterday, BVTA said it was shocked by the selective application of
the law, where vendors are brutally raided, while money changers on
street corners are left untouched.

“We call upon the local authority to treat all citizens in an equal
manner and respect their rights as enshrined in the Constitution of
Zimbabwe,” the association said.

The group said it stood in solidarity with thousands of unemployed
Zimbabweans, who have resorted to vending as the only source of
livelihood under the country’s prevailing difficult economic
environment.

“We are still aggrieved that the informal sector is besieged with many
challenges ie lack of clear government policies on social security,
lack of medical healthcare schemes, but it is the biggest employer
with over 5 million Zimbabweans,” part of the statement read.

“We are deeply concerned that at local level informal workers are
facing a glaring criminalisation of their sector, municipal law
enforcement agents are unleashed to conduct violent raids that have
maimed vendors and left trails of destruction. Their goods continue to
be confiscated and disappear on their way to storage facilities.”

BVTA demanded clarity on the meaning of the formalisation of the
informal sector when informal workers were made to go through a
rigorous police vetting process and completion of registration forms
in application for vending licences at municipal offices, but some
sectors of the society still argue vendors are not formalised.

“We hope this year’s Workers Day commemorations provided an
opportunity for the government to pause and reflect on the informal
sector and provide decent working conditions for informal workers in
order to achieve an inclusive economy,” it said.

The group said government should put interest of informal workers
first and adopt practical steps towards creating conducive conditions
for the informal sector to thrive in line with provisions on economic
and social rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe yesterday joined the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day.