Bulawayo Vendors Group In Attempts To Capacitate Members

http://www.radiovop.com/index.php/national-news/14429-bulawayo-vendors-group-in-attempts-to-capacitate-members.html

By Dumisani Nyoni

Bulawayo, August 25, 2016 – DUE to the country’s protracted economic crisis, the city of Bulawayo has, in recent years, lost its industrial hub status to become a teeming vending district.

However, despite keeping the proverbial wolf from the door for much of the time, street vendors are still confronted by their own challenges, not least among them lack of ablution facilities, lack of proper vending structures and no law to govern their operations.

Female vendors particularly, feel the heat when it comes to the use of ablution facilities.

RadioVOP this week caught up with Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association programs coordinator, Michael Ndiweni, who spoke about their challenges and the new measures they have placed to ameliorate them.

“There are no toilets; As such, women going through menstruation cycles find it difficult to survive. Some would want to change their pads but cannot because of lack supporting facilities,” Ndiweni said.

He also said there are no policies protecting vendors.

On top of their troubles, Ndiweni said, income obtained through the trade is ever dwindling as individual vendors always face competition from the ever ballooning number of vendors trying to make a living.

Because of this, he added, their source of “employment” shall ever remain  insecure.

“Their incomes are often minimal and their sales fluctuate,” he said.

It is crucial for policymakers to acknowledge and address these challenges, Ndiweni said.

He said as an organisation championing the rights of vendors, they have launched a self-funded training programme to sensitise members on their constitutional rights and guard against abuse by municipal police.

He said the training was in response to the continued confiscation of their wares coupled with the inhumane treatment they received from municipal police officers.

Recently, four municipal police were left hospitalised after they were assaulted by angry vendors, who were protesting against the confiscation of their goods.

Ndiweni said vendors have constitutional rights, which must be respected, hence, the training exercise to sensitise them on their rights.

“Our organisation has noted that the rights of vendors and informal traders are frequently violated by municipal police in city of Bulawayo and, hence, their rights must be protected and promoted,” he said.

He said they have also observed that a proportionate number of vendors were not aware of their rights or the means to seek recourse when their rights were violated.

“We then call for measures that will empower vendors to speak up for their rights,” he said.

Ndiweni said they were seeking to reach all vendors doted around Bulawayo’s 29 municipal wards.

By supporting street vendors, Ndiweni said cities could foster equitable development and improve the livelihood of society’s most vulnerable populations.

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BVTA inspires 197 vendors with leadership skills in Bulawayo

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has successfully executed Leadership and Advocacy Trainings in Bulawayo’ 29 wards targeting its Wards Committee structures, poised to inspire vendors and informal traders to have better lives.

The objects of the trainings were to enhance the leadership and public policy advocacy capabilities of its ward structures. One hundred and ninety seven (197) members of the Ward Structures were trained. BVTA carried out trainings after noting that most those occupying positions lacked adequate leadership and advocacy skills that hinder their effectiveness in mobilizing and providing leadership at local level. This is part of BVTA`s broad strategy as enshrined in their 2016 – 2018 Strategic Plan to build capacity of vendors to be able function and have better lives.

The scope of the trainings focused on BVTA Constitution and reminded the structures on their leadership constitutional obligations, their term of office as well as functions and roles played by BVTA Executive Committee.

Essentially the trainings acquainted members of Ward Structures about key aspects in leadership. The trainings emphasized that leadership is about motivation, inspiring people to aspire and make positive contributions in communities and changing their lives. Ward structures were sharpened with knowledge on qualities of good leaders for example that good leaders have a vision for the future, have strength of personality, the will power of a never say die attitude.
The Ward structures were made aware that good leadership is not about use of coercive means, force, and abuse of authority, abuse of power or use of threats to get the work done.

The course handed BVTA Ward leaders with a tools box of leadership skills that is envisaged to assist in leading membership within communities. It emphasized that leadership skills are tools, behaviors and capabilities that a person needs in order to be at motivating and directing others. The skills were portrayed as characters of professions such as the behavior of a Captain who directs the sail, who delegates duties, gardener someone who cultivates trusts and makes members of the group feel the sense of belonging and ownership of the group or organization. Furthermore, a diplomat someone who is able to solve conflicts that are inevitable in groups, the talk show host someone who is an effective communicator and who masters nonverbal communication among other skills.

The training course was complemented by imparting vendors with lobby and advocacy skills that will enable vendors and informal traders to organize themselves and speak against to find solutions that affect them in their day to day lives. The course has already to motivated vendors to organize themselves and speak in one voice in order to improve their conditions especially the constant violation of rights and abuse from law enforcement agents. An increase of vendors visiting the organizational offices to join the association has been recorded.

One woman vendor from Ward 7 confessed how the training has helped her to change the way she thinks and  conducted her business “I have been stuck in my vending bay for the rest of my life to the point that I had quit attending church services, these trainings have made me to gain useful information to do other things, I have learnt that I can delegate someone to remain manning my vending bay whilst I attend to other issues in the community and seeking other opportunities that may arise in the informal sector”

The trainings envisages to improve coordination of activities of vendors and informal traders at ward level. This form of decentralization will make the organisation more accessible and be able to promptly respond to the needs of vendors across the city.

Rights of vendors and informal traders must be promoted

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni and Cherish Mbulawa-Intern

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA)  has noted that the rights of vendors and informal traders are frequently violated by municipal police in city of Bulawayo and hence their rights must protected and promoted.
Vending has become a source of livelihood for many people due to economic challenges bedevilling the country, efforts must made to have a there multi stakeholder to promote their rights. We have also observed that a proportionate number of vendors are not aware of their rights nor the means to seek recourse when their rights are violated. The existence of this knowledge gap has resulted in their rights being infringed. In addition lack of clearly defined policies results in the abuse of vendors’ rights. We then call for measures that will empower vendors to speak up for their rights.
The constitution of Zimbabwe in Chapter (4) Section (56) Subsection (1) states that all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Fulfilling Chapter (2) Section (14) Subsection (1) which states that institutions, and agencies at every level must endeavour to facilitate and take measures to empower through appropriate and affirmative action all marginalised persons, groups and communities.
As part of our small contribution to sensitize vendors about their rights, we have embarked on training of vendors on social and economic rights and on how they can demand and promote their rights.
We believe and strive to empower vendors as an identified marginalised group. Vendors have the same rights that are accorded to all Zimbabweans stated in Chapter (4) Section (56) Subsection (2) which include right to equal treatment, right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres.

Empirical evidence shows the astronomical   growth of the informal sector in Zimbabwe and Bulawayo in particular. The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT 2014) says 84% of Zimbabweans are employed in the informal sector. Estimates are that over 300,000 people in Bulawayo are in the informal economy with the majority struggling to access licences and suitable trading places.

Conversely,  in the absence of clear policy guidelines for local authorities from government, councils like Bulawayo City Council as service provides for the sector have not moved with speed to address licencing and public trading space challenges.  This has resulted in a difficult working environment for vendors and informal traders, the majority of whom are women and youths. Vendors are subjected to arbitrary removals from their trading places and have their goods confiscated by corrupt police officers and council officials.

We are a membership based organisation of vendors and informal traders that exists to expand economic opportunities for the urban poor in Bulawayo. Our  work includes conscientising our members about socio-economic rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, identifying existing policy and legal constraints facing informal traders and engaging in policy advocacy.

Toddler ‘Teargased’ To Death By Riot Police

http://www.zimmetro.net/index-id-news-zk-20360.html

Published: 16 mins ago (22 Views) | by Editor

BULAWAYO – A toddler has reportedly died in the city’s oldest township
Makhokhoba after police threw a tear gas at the kid’s family house
during the #ZimShutDown skirmishes on Wednesday this week.

A confidential source confided to Zim Metro that, the innocent kid
whose name can not be disclosed, for ethical reasons, suffocated to
death after inhaling the deadly smoke.

“She suffocated from teargas whilst inside the house and then the
mother tried to take her out she was met with the smoke again,” a
citizen reporter whose spoke on condition of anonymity told Zim Metro
today.

“I am at Burombo flats now and just spoke to three women who confirmed
the death of a 1 year 6 months old child,” the citizen reporter said.

“The women said the kid died of suffocation from tear gas,  and
another man also died after being rushed to the hospital.”

During the uprising, armed police reportedly descendend heavily on any
person at their sight as protesting crowds ran amok.

They also randomly threw tear gas at homes where innocent civilians
had taken refuge to avoid skirmishes outside.

A human rights watch group Amnesty International on Thursday condemned
Zimbabwe police for gross human rights violations after cases of
police brutality on civilians during the protests went viral on Social
Media.

Civic society leaders have also condemned arrests made in Bulawayo
following the Wednesday demonstration.

A total of 90 people have so far been arrested in the city including
minors who  are currently in police custody awaiting trial.

Meanwhile according to impeccable sources, 84 people arrested and
remanded in custody  have been moved to Khami remand prison while one
minor is still detained at Luveve remand prison.

Vendors and Informal traders launch Anti- Corruption and Coordination Task Team

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Bulawayo Vendors and Vendors Association (BVTA) and various Bulawayo based vendors associations working in partnership with Transparency International Zimbabwe have established a Vendors and Traders Anti-Corruption and Coordination Task Force to help raise awareness on corruption and help to coordinate and disseminate information among members of associations. The platform seeks to play a watch dog role and be a whistle blower to any corrupt activities that occur in trading and vending areas.  Vendors and traders lamented corrupt practices by some law enforcement agents who solicit for bribes and sometimes confiscate their wares and disappear before reaching the warehouses. More alarming were revelations that women bear the brunt of sexual harassment from some errant law enforcements agents who demand sex in order to let them free.

The idea was proposed at an Informal Sector Governance workshop held at Transparency International Zimbabwe, Bulawayo office. The workshop was meant to assist Vendors and Informal traders understand how corruption occurs in the informal sector; understand the personal and cooperate rights in criminal and civil liability of involvement in corruption and to develop strategies on how to reduce corruption.

Transparency International Zimbabwe says that Zimbabwe scored 21 points out of 100 on the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index and the country is ranked 150 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries. It must be noted that the Corruption Perception Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be and not the informal sector, however the data provided mirrors the informal sector as some services rendered to the informal sector are from various government arms hence the perception that illicit dealings are rampant in the informal sector.

Vendors also highlighted a number of challenges they face in the industry among them lack of support on lines of credit to finance their small businesses as banks and micro- financiers demand collateral. Vendors were encouraged to pursue internal lending and savings, establish group bank accounts, pilot ideas such as Grameen Bank by Mohamoud Yunis. Informal traders called for review of legislation that governs National Social Security to consider schemes that cater for vendors as they are now part of the huge economy sector. Estimates from the government have shown that in 2013 the Informal sector was accounting for $7 billion dollars and against $4billion national budget.

Speaking at the same workshop during a breakaway session Debra Mukasa an official from Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association urged associations to advocate for the formalization of the informal sector in order to be orderly and organized so as to access loans and be recognized by the government. “Formalizing the informal traders will help us to be recognized by the government and also help us to lobby  the government to introduce social security schemes for us vendors” she said. “When we grow old we do have other means of survival but if the government allows us to make small contributions to NSSA, it will cushion us and our families” she added

Mr Dumisani Ncube from Bulawayo Traders Association urged informal traders to consider acquiring pieces of land as associations and construct buildings that they can sublet and the returns be used for social security schemes.

Informal Traders and Vendors Association committed to work closely with Transparency International Zimbabwe in fighting corruption and promotion of their rights. Transparency International Zimbabwe pledged to provide legal services and assist in coordinating the informal traders and vendors associations.

For feedback: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com   / twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE NEW VENDING BAYS FOR VENDORS AND INFORMAL TRADERS: HIGHLANDERS CLUB HOUSE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) would like to acknowledge the efforts demonstrated by the Bulawayo City Council to decongest the City Centre by creating new vending bays at corner Masotsha Ave and Fife Street. (Near Highlanders Club House) This is after our sustained campaign for the local authority to provide appropriate vending and trading bays for our membership.

BVTA continues to call for the Bulawayo City Council to construct  adequate ablution facilities and other related amenities since the new trading area is accommodating over 800 vendors and traders and facilities available are not sufficient to service such a huge number.

BVTA also commends its membership and other associations for taking a heed to pilot this move. The organization commits to closely monitor any moves that may result in granting of unfair advantage to other informal traders and vendors.

BVTA further encourages the Bulawayo City Council to re-direct traffic to the new trading area so as to allay fears and skepticism that the area will not attract customers. This may be done through relocating the commuter omnibus pick up points, introduction of food caravans and erecting billboards notifying prospective buyers of the new sites.

BVTA also acknowledges the seemingly smooth allocation of vending bays by Bulawayo City Council officials that so far has been incident free from malpractices, corrupt tendencies. The organization encourages BCC to diligently guard against double dipping and double allocations of trading bays.

BVTA urges the Bulawayo City Council to avail more trading and vending bays since the sector has become the source of livelihoods for many.

BVTA also commends various vendors associations in Bulawayo for demonstrating the desire to forge alliances and together work for the common good of its members.   The organization believes that such maneuvers are the right tonic to promote and protect the rights of informal traders and vendors.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) is an organization that represents vendors and informal traders by engaging in policy research and advocacy to ensure that the rights and interests of vendors and informal traders are protected and catered for.

Contact person: Thabang Nare – Coordinator

Organization Name:  Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA)

Contact Details: 406 Fidelity Building, Fife Street and 11 Ave, Bulawayo.

Phone Number: +2637849442396

Email Address: bulawayovendors@gmail.com

Website: www.facebook.com/bvta.trust

Press Statement On Float On The Right To Learning Read more at: http://www.modernghana.com/news/657598/1/press-statement-on-float-on-the-right-to-learning.html

http://www.modernghana.com/news/657598/1/press-statement-on-float-on-the-right-to-learning.html

On Saturday, 5th of December 2015, between 9am-2pm starting from the Jubilee Park, we the ActionAid Ghana Global Platform Campaigners will be joining hands with other key stakeholders to embark on a float demanding the provision of adequate Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) for quality education in basic schools in Dimala, Kpene, Dabokpa and Pagazaa communities in Tamale, Ghana. The theme for the campaign is: “Teaching and Learning Materials for Quality Education in Basic Schools”.

The float will seek to encourage the public to speak out and demand the provision of adequate Teaching and Learning Materials in our basic schools. Our recent fact finding visits to the above mentioned communities on the 3rd November, 2015 revealed that on average, one text book is used by five pupils and one dual desk is used by four pupils to mention a few. Our interaction with the teachers and pupils has made us realize that, lack of teaching and learning materials in the schools is contributing greatly to the poor performance of basic schools in the rural areas.

We are of the view that this is not acceptable and is a deprivation of quality education as enshrined in the 1992 constitution of Ghana Article 38(1) that obligates the state to provide educational facilities at all levels.

We therefore invite all interested stakeholders, concerned groups and individuals to stand together and join us in the float to demand quality education for our children. We also request all stakeholders to bring their organizational banners, placards with campaign messages and other related materials for the float.

By: Global Platform Campaigners
Daniel Nii Ankrah +233249749489 – Spokesperson

Mohammed Shiraz Salamatu +233507787597 – Deputy Spokesperson

Read more at: http://www.modernghana.com/news/657598/1/press-statement-on-float-on-the-right-to-learning.html