Chamisa’s demolitions stance welcome


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IN our lead, the MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has publicly expressed his displeasure at the way
urban councils, most of them under opposition control were at the forefront of demolishing shells for
informal sectors.
Some may opine that in his recent Workers’ Day speech Chamisa was on a damage control exercise,
managing the outcry that came as result of the ill-timed demolition exercise.
However, such public statements by political leaders, if met with corresponding action, will help to
restore any hope that was left among residents that our leaders have a heart for the masses.
While the responsible authorities can conveniently seek refuge for the inhumane treatment of the urban
folk in our communities by citing the need to manage the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical for them to
balance the issue of lives and livelihoods.
Was that all the central and local government could do? Could they not have managed this situation
better save for the belated joint statements laden with promises to compensate the victims by building
new stalls that remain a reality on paper only?
While the country’s leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa was silent on the demolitions, something
that would naturally disappoint the affected residents, his stance to prioritise the protection of lives
during his speech when he extended the lockdown this week, is welcome.
However, it should be pointed out that our nation first announced a three-week lockdown in March and
then extended that, prior to the latest extension.
In those 36 days we should note that over 80% of Zimbabweans rely or depend on the informal sector to
earn a living and their businesses will remain shut while big companies will open under supervision.
The same companies are set to benefit from an announced $720 million stimulus package for distressed
While this is commendable, the opposite is true for the informal sector.
Understandably, there is need to religiously adhere to the social distancing measures in order to curb
the spread of the virus, however, the remaining hope left for vendors was demolished by the
Little or no action is in place to alleviate the plight of those in the informal sector, except destroying
their hopes through the recent demolitions of their stalls.
Food for thought to Mnangagwa as he plans to slowly return the country to a normal way of life through
the adoption of a national strategy of possible exits from the lockdown, informed by the imperatives of
Zimbabwe and its peculiarities.
The ball is in your court Mr President, your communities are crying.

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