By Varaidzo Muzonzini
As the country is emerging from Covid 19 pandemic shutdowns and gradually allowing activities to resume, more people are turning to street vending as a way to earn a living.
The continuous decline of the economy in Zimbabwe caused by the shutdowns has greatly affected the performance of industries, who retrenched many workers leading to most residents resorting to vending.
Tanaka Nherema, a teacher by profession moves from one vehicle to the other carrying a basket of oranges and bananas as he avoids being knocked down by passing vehicles along RG Mugabe way in Gweru.
“One dollar for 10 bananas! One dollar for 6 oranges!” he could be heard shouting on top of his voice to attract the attention of passing pedestrians and motorists.
Nherema is one of many people who have turned to vending to support their families as the economic meltdown hit ordinary people including the employed whose salaries cannot meet the ever increasing prices of basic commodities
Emmanuel Mawaru a street vendor said that the widespread gospel is self-reliance, to such an extent that the economy has become highly informal.
“Vending back in the day was considered to be done by women and the considered poor but now it is the way of survival in this economic meltdown. Almost everyone is now engaged in vending in one way or another. As long as people are being paid in local currency, while majority of goods are sold in USdollar, people will continue suffer, forcing them to look for alternative means like vending to make ends meet,” he said.
The influx of vendors in the CBD area has brought about a number of challenges for city local authorities who are always engaged in running battles with hawkers on the streets.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said in a statement that people who are into street vending are not in for their liking, but are being forced by economy challenges.
The labour body said the places that were designated for vending are not accessible to many customers because of the distance from the Central Business District (CBD), so people end up resorting to street vending in town where there are more customers and readily accessible for those shopping in town other than going to Mtapa which is far from the CBD.