BVTA Press Statement on Workers Day Commemorations on May 1 2017

 

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) joins the entire global community to commemorate International Workers Day. BVTA today stands in solidarity with thousands of unemployed Zimbabweans who have resorted to vending and trading as the only source of livelihood under the country’s prevailing difficult economic environment.

BVTA implores the government to put the interests 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.

We are still aggrieved that the informal sector is besieged with many challenges i.e. lack of clear government policies on social security, lack of medical health care schemes but it is the biggest employer with over 5 million Zimbabweans.

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

BVTA is shocked by the selective application of the law where vendors are brutally raided and while street money changers in street corners are left untouched. We call upon the local authority to treat all citizens in an equal manner and respect their equal rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

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

We hope this years’ Workers Day commemoration will provide 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.

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The struggle for rights of vendors continues in Bulawayo

On 27 September 2016 was a special day for us and Wild Trust Zimbabwe to face off with the City of Bulawayo and find mutual beneficial ways to address challenges faced by vendors and informal traders especially women and girls at Presbytarian City Church.

The meeting came at a time when sour relations were escalating between City of Bulawayo and vendors due to their violent raids that have been recorded in the past few weeks resulting in some vendors sustaining serious injuries. Vendors and informal traders especially women face harassment on a daily basis. We believe that this kind of dialogue will help curtail cases of human rights violations recorded in the sector daily. Partners such Nango Western Region, NAVUZ, Uhlelo LweZakhamizi (BPRA), SWITA and ZCIEA supported us.

Mr Elliot Panesu from BCC engineering department responding to questions and also speaking on behalf of other four BCC officials present pledged the City of Bulawayo preparedness to always engage with vendors if there are grievances.

(1) BCC pledged to investigate cases of abuse women and girls especially at Egodini Terminus where they are deprived of water by unscrupulous men who are now selling water from a public tap.
(2) BCC pledged to partner with Bulawayo Vendors Trust and Wild Trust Zimbabwe and conduct joint outreach meetings on City of Bulawayo Bylaws
(3) BCC committed desire to allocate more vending bays to vendors associations.
(4) BCC pledged to conduct periodic meetings with vendors associations.
(5) Address cleanliness in public toilets to address special needs of women and girls.
(6) BCC also committed to attend to individual grievances arising from vendors who felt their issues have not been dealt with adequately by some City of Bulawayo officials.

We pay our gratitude to Wild Trust Zimbabwe for choosing to collaborate with us in this important meeting.

Did you know that 17% of cases of human rights violations recorded in the first quarter of 2016 were against vendors?

Did you know that women and girls vendors buy water from unscrupulous individuals to wash hands after using toilets at Egodini vending area?

BVTA condemns actions of BCC police in injuring a vending minor and victimisation of the mother in Bulawayo Issued by

 

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA)

BVTA strongly condemns actions and the heavy handedness of the Bulawayo Municipal Police that led to a 15 year old minor suffering a broken arm during their violent raids on vendors whose only crime was selling eggs to raise funds for schools fees on Friday 19 August 2016 and subsequent seemingly counter accusation of the mother for assaulting a female municipal two weeks after.

We categorically state that this kind of behaviour is a violation of people rights and inhumane treatment that has no place in the modern society.

BVTA would like to unequivocally remind the Bulawayo City Council authorities of Section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that says; no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the same vein to remind them of the rights of arrested persons.   BVTA further posits that the actions of the municipal police are in violation of Section 19 subsection (2c) of the Constitution that states that the child must be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse.

BVTA also notes that BCC municipal police violated the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.  When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. It also further violated Article 19 that says that children have a right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.

BVTA calls upon the Bulawayo City Council to investigate the violent conduct of their municipal police officers and prosecute all those who have taken law unto themselves to injure and maim vendors who are involved in genuine means to earn a living.

We are also aggrieved by unwarranted seizure and confiscation of vendors and informal traders’ goods and generic brutalizing and harassment of informal traders and vendors especially defenseless women and girls.

We also abhor the subsequent arrest of the mother in spurious charges of assaulting a BCC female police detail two weeks after the injury meted on her daughter.

BVTA believes that dialogue between BCC and vendors and informal traders is a sure way to find alternative means to address the problems faced by vendors in the city.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), is a membership organisation that represents the vendors and informal traders by engaging in policy research and advocacy to ensure that the rights and interests of vendors and informal traders are promoted and facilitated.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) can be contacted on:

Office 406 Fidelity Life Building,

Fife Street & 11th Avenue

BULAWAYO

Mobile Phone : +2638644210108

Email: bulawayovendors @gmail.com

 

Mindset change will address inequalities in Ghana, Northern region – Youths speak out

The Action Aid Ghana Global platform has hosted a Youth Panel discussion that featured youths from various civic and interest groups found in Tamale, Ghana and students drawn from the Northern Business School (Nobisco). Outstanding in the panel discussion was the need to deal with mind to liberate young people and address inequalities. The Youth Panel was part of advocacy activities held in the build up to the United General Assembly (UNGA) that will also discuss the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York from 24 – 27 September 2015 .

Action Aid youth hub #YouthDiscuss #Inequality is spearheading a number of advocacy campaigns to push the United Nations General Assembly to focus its discussion on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on addressing inequalities within countries. The Sustainable Development Goals are proposed set of targets relating to future international development set by United Nations member states.

The activity was held under the theme “The role of youths in challenging inequalities in the Northern region”. The speakers unpacked the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its proposed key results areas.

In pursuit to locate the role of young people in fighting inequalities in the Northern region, Ghana, the keynote speakers Mr. Gideon Adjololo a Senior Administrative Assistant  from University of Development Studies (UDS) as well as the founder and  Chief Executive Officer for Transformational Leadership International  (TLI) spoke about the importance of young people taking part in decision making. He said youths must change their mindset in order to deal with inequalities in the society. Mr Adjololo lamented harmful cultural practices as an inhibiting to women and girls participation and also in addressing inequalities. He also pointed the many women and girls are unequal to men and boys because they are involved in unpaid care work that the society still undervalues and does not recognize.

He further took participants through the three priority goals selected by Action Aid Ghana Global Platform youth hub which are: Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities, Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries and explicitly explained their targets.

The second speaker Mr Ibrahim Mustapha a young motivational speaker from Public Speaking Institute who was the discussant in the Youth Panel urged youths to embrace social media as a tool to add their voice in fighting inequalities. He said that women and girls must be supported to access education and other opportunities such as paid jobs in order to address inequalities. He also reiterated the submission by Mr Adjololo that it was of paramount importance that young people get involved in decision making process and the need for youths to think positively and change the way they view things.

On the sidelines of  the panel discussion one female participant Miss Addae Matilda said “The creation of spaces for dialogue is very useful because it gets us as young women equipped with knowledge that will ensure our effective participation in economic  and public issues”  She continued  “It will help us exhibit our potential and claim our rights”

Young people summed the panel discussion by suggesting issues that need to be addressed or followed by various interest groups that were represented in the panel discussion.

  • The youths challenged each other to hold the government to account on its promises to fulfill their rights.
  • Youths challenged each other to participate in decision making processes and add their voice.
  • Youths agreed that there is need for youths to put pressure on the government to implement policies and other blue prints that it puts in place as a response to such developmental agendas.
  • They emphasized the need to empower ad girls with education as a strategy to address inequalities.
  • Youths urged organizations present to foster partnerships to increase impact of the work they are engaged in and applauded those that have already started working together in addressing faced by young people in the Northern region.
  • Evidenced based advocacy and research was pointed as key tool to be effective in addressing inequalities.
  • Youths urged each other to play the watch dog and point excesses of the government that undermine or violate the rights of citizens.
  • Youths said interventions that deal with mindset change will be panacea in addressing a plethora of problems faced by young people.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni – Inspirator Action Aid Ghana

@mdladlaspeaks

Email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com / Michael.Ndiweni@actionaid.org

Bulawayo once the city of excellence turns to Blair toilets.

I used to think The City of Bulawayo was a city of excellence until I joined Uhlelo LweZakhamizi, Inkundla KaZulu, and other civil society organizations in an Anti Prepaid Water Meter Door to Door campaign on Saturday 21 June 2014. It was very surprised to see a Blair toilet in one of the townships. Attached are pictures that show Blair toilets in Cowdry park popularly known as Emastendini. This is 34 years after black majority rule and independence. 

Views from various bloggers  ImageImage

Is the City Council to blame or the developer? There are parts of the city were serving of stands is done by developers who instead of having the capital to do so they rely on deposits from buyers. So be sure its council which I doubt”

up until zanurised ple took over Byo kwakungekho lokhu…right nw zanu linked land developers doin sh***t ol over eg kubombudane etc…cn bet thts a land developer area leyo”

“in Mahatshula i bought stand from developer in a medium residential place over five years ago.stil dusty roads n no sewer line only water…”

“You are over analysing this its the Political and economic regime we are under that allows such things and establishes the enviroment for it to happen there are the source of this madness in 2014”

“ey shouldnt sell undeveloped stand. wt pisses me off with the city council is that pple actually bot those stands from em. $3500 is serious money and ey need to start focusin on real issues bayekelane lamabhawa. i propose we go to a council meetin and protest in ere. mnxxxmm such things make me feel lyk taking it to the street”

What I deduce from these bloggers is that
(1) Council is to blame for the mess at Cowdry Park, because they sold unserviced stands (2)
(2) Misplaced priorities and awarding of tenders to developers has also contributed to the mess at the eye sore township.
(3) The current regime is equally responsible for this mess.
(4) There is an invisible hand that has covert strategies to destroy the city of Bulawayo.
Way forward
– Door to door campaign to enlighten on the infringements of their rights.
– Massive residents protest march against the council and government to act on the mess.
– The council must not stop selling not serviced stands forthwith.
– Dialogue between council and residents