The Zimbabwe government’s planned deployment of force against vendors in Harare will greatly affect women, most of whom make the bulk of the vending population in the central business district (CBD). This was said by Samukeliso Khumalo, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Acting Chairperson.
Khumalo was speaking to media in Johannesburg when she made the remarks on the side-lines of the African Union 25th ordinary Heads of State Summit.
“The State has made its intentions clear, that it wants to fight the women of Zimbabwe,” she said, adding: “This use of force removes another layer of dignity off the Zimbabwean woman. It strips her of the right to work and the right to provide for family.”
Khumalo also said Zimbabwe president Mugabe chairing the African Union (AU) made a mockery of this year’s theme, ‘Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063’.
“The AU says this is the year of Women Empowerment but its Chair is clearly disagreeing with this. For Mugabe, this is the year of demobilising women and ensuring that they are condemned to violence, oppression and rendered unable to make a living. Is this our vision for African women?” Khumalo asked.
In a statement read out earlier, CiZC described the vendors on the streets of Harare as “victims of a failed leadership in a society riddled with high unemployment, lack of infrastructure development and continued collapse of basic social services.”
The statement also read, in part: “The continuous deployment of brute force as a way of dealing with citizens’ genuine grievances signifies the extent to which president Mugabe, aged 91, is out of touch with the myriad of challenges in his own country. Quite remarkably, it also proves the failure by his government to provide clear and tangible solutions to an economy battered and bruised by policy ambiguity, policy inconsistency and lack of imagination.”