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

Aspiring Activistas fight for the right to learning materials in Northern Ghana.

http://www.actionaid.org/activista/2015/11/aspiring-activistas-fight-right-learning-materials-northern-ghana

Fourteen (14) young people, who recently signed up to join Activista Ghana, have stepped up their ante by influencing the Global Platform Ghana Campaign course 2015 participants to focus on Teacher rationalization campaign in Northern region, Ghana. The advocacy campaign is organized under the theme “Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) for quality education in basic schools”

The aspiring Activista Ghana members have together with other young activists from Burundi, Nigeria and Senegal set their target on building the skills of teachers and schools executives such as School Management Committees (SMCs), Teacher Parent Associations (PTAs) to lobby the Northern Region District Directorate and other key stakeholders in education to provide Teaching and Learning Materials for basic schools. The activists have chosen Kpene, Dabokpa, Dimala and Paazar communities in Tamale to be at the center of their advocacy campaign.

A situational analysis tour carried out by these activists to the four selected communities revealed that rural teachers feel disadvantaged as compared to their urban counterparts. Bulk of the teachers who spoke to the campaigners lamented long distance, bad roads, inadequate teaching and learning materials as demotivating and an impediment to effective teaching. They also argued that lack of cooperation from parents to support them with social amenities like alternative housing has negatively affected the moral of teachers. The tour also exposed alarming levels of low pass rates in rural areas; one school visited recorded a pass rate of as low as 28% in 2014.

According to the Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2010 – 2020 Vol (1) p14 improving the conditions of Teachers is a top priority coupled with availability of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs). The strategy also highlights the importance equipping teachers with improvisation of mechanisms as stop gap measure in the short term.

One of the Activista Ghana aspirant member Yakubu Yussif  who is part of the campaign said “We chose to campaign on Teacher Rationalization with a bias towards Teaching Learning and Materials because it motivates teachers, it improves the performance of students.”  He continued “ The current conditions dissuade rural teachers who have no adequate teaching and learning materials,” “ What is striking the most is the fact the very rural teachers have to prepare their students for the same examinations that their urban counterparts sit for who have a better competitive advantage as their conditions are better “ he added.

The activists have argued that provision of teaching and learning facilities is a right.  The Ghanaian Constitution of 1992, Article 38 (1)  provides  that the “ the state shall provide educational facilities at all levels in all the regions of Ghana and shall be to the greatest extent possible make those facilities available to all citizens “ and hence the government has a duty to provide for teaching and learning materials as guaranteed in the constitution. Article 21 (1) further gives credence to their argument that basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all.

The course has so far covered 5 weeks. The young activists have been equipped with knowledge and skills to run an effective campaign.  The next four weeks will witness an intense series of activities as part of the campaign on Teacher Rationalization – Teaching and Learning Materials. A durbar at the Chief Palace has been lined up to mobilize people to support the campaign and be aware of challenges faced by teachers and promote the importance of provision of teaching and learning materials. Radio programmes and stakeholders meetings will build the momentum towards a march expected to bring together over 200 residents of Tamale Metropolitan advocating for teaching and learning materials in four (4) target basic schools.

The campaign is in sync with ActionAid International Key Change promise six (6) which harnesses youth leadership to end poverty and injustices. The campaign course creates confident and skilled social change agents and campaigners who will contribute significantly to the realization of successful campaigns in ActionAid and formation of new Activista networks.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

For feedback: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com

Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

Global Platform Ghana youths call for Activista Ghana

http://www.actionaid.org/activista/2015/10/global-platform-ghana-youths-call-activista-ghana

It’s a cool night in Tamale, Ghana on Wednesday 29 October 2015 and the time is 21:30hrs,  loud cheers are heard rumbling from the Global Platform Ghana, as youths scream “ We Need it! We need it” The noise increases every second and its now mixed with clapping of hands “Activista – We need it! Activista – We need it!”  as inaugural Campaign course 2015 participants drawn from West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal) and Burundi in East Africa demand the establishment of Activista Ghana after listening to motivating presentations made by Nigeria, Senegal on fantastic work in fighting poverty and inequalities and also background information on the role of Global Platforms playing the hub for all Activistas in ActionAid Federation family.

Margaret Osei  a member of Young Urban Women project with ActionAid Ghana and also a Campaign course participant  and was joyful   to express her desire to have in  Activista in  Ghana  she exclaimed “ It is a very noble idea, as it will help us to join hands and fight oppressive norms  in communities and encourage more young women to be active in civic engagement” she continued “ I really want Activista Ghana because it will invigorate youths to be engaged in decision making, it will  provide us with a space to organize, share ideas on how to campaign and change people`s lives “

Abdulai Mohammed Shani  a Training of Trainers graduate with the Global Platform Ghana added “ Activista will be very important to us, since we do not have a vibrant and more visible  youth network in all parts of Ghana, it will make our voices  heard and make positive change in communities”

Zakaria Hasfa Yurizaa a Young Urban Women based in Tamale weighed in by saying “ We need Activista because we also want to contribute in having a  functioning young women and young men`s  movement like other countries represented here in the course and also so that my fellow youths in Ghana can create networks and participate in other regional and international programmes organized by Activista and learn new things that can help develop my country”

According to media reports, speaking at the Young Professional and Youth Coalitions (YPYC) on Friday 23 October 2015 , the Vice President of Ghana, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said the government of Ghana has instituted structures, schemes and interventions not only to transform but also to empower youths for nation building.  Conversely the call for setting of Activista Ghana resonates well with the vice president statement as the network will augument government efforts to empower the youth and prepare them to contribute positively towards nation building.

This was a night set aside from the Campaign Course 2015 for course participants to get learn from experiences sharing by Activista members present in the training. The night was dubbed “Activista night” and was also meant to unpack what Activista is and to entice those who are interested in joining it to do so. It was explicitly explained that Activista is a global youth network involving more than 250 ActionAid partners seeking to challenge power holders, combat inequalities and end poverty within communities.  It is comprised of ActionAid country programmes, local and national youth organizations, movements and partners. It involves all youths regardless of their economic status who are keen to bring and promote social change. It targets youths from Action Aid Federation Local Rights Programmes and has mobilized thousands of volunteers in more than 25 countries.

The evening was set ablaze by exciting presentations that demonstrated the individual and collective effort of young people who have done amazing work that has brought about significant changes within communities.

First to take to the podium was Activista Senegal. Saliou Balde  from Senegal gave an inspirational testimony when he shared how he managed to stage a protest  by blocking the main road that passes by the community to demand construction of a school after he realized that children were walking over 5 kilometers  to access a nearby school.  “ After I realized that the children were suffering by walking a long distance of over 5 kilometers  to get to a nearest school, I decided to organize children and went and blocked the main road that services haulage trucks across West Africa as a way to show our pain and  suffering and also to make the government act on children`s suffering . We stopped traffic flow and caused chaos. The blockade resulted the government constructing one classroom block and now as we speak children are attending school in their school”  he narrated.

The Nigerian Activista also made mouthwatering presentation; one of their members gave an account on how they contributed in the demand of release of Chibok girls that were captured by Boko Haram militants. The representative said they have established many cell groups of Activistas in various communities in Nigeria, and are involved in tax justice campaign, and also organized inspirational workshops for youths. John Osiroko Atta a Cell Coordinator for Activista in  Benue State, Nigeria who is also a Campaign Course participant emphasized the need for Activista Ghana and said  “ Youths in Ghana must urgently  establish Activista as it will help us in West Africa to connect, build alliances around local, regional and global issues affecting  us youths”

A total of fourteen ( 14 ) young people currently taking part in the Campaign Course 2015 have signed up to  join Activista. The ActionAid Ghana family is still making in-house consultations to develop a youth network that will be a vehicle to face challenges of youth living in poverty. ActionAid Ghana´s Mission Objective 3 in the Country Strategy Paper V partly seeks to Enhance Capacity of Young People to Drive Their Development Priorities. The Key Result Area  in the objective  targets   “To mobilize and support 22 000 youth to take purposeful and sustained action as leaders in their own right to shape a more democratic nation that protects, respects, and fulfills the rights of the people living in poverty”.

By Michael Ndiweni

Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

For feedback email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com