Press Statements

BVTA Press Statement on Harassment of an informal trader by mounted law enforcement agents

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) strongly condemns an incident of violence that occurred to one of our member and the systematic harassment of vendors and informal traders in the CBD when going about their business.

On the 7th of August 2020, a BVTA member was nearly trampled instead hit on the forehead by a horse and suffered bruises near OK Supermarket along Lobhengula Street in Bulawayo.

Joyce Leta was coming out of OK Supermarket at Godini where she was bruised by one of the mounted law enforcement agents which were speeding on the pavements. She narrated that she was left unattended lying traumatised on the ground and bleeding on the forehead.

Below is her testimony that she shared with Vendors Voice:

“On Friday 7 August, 2020, just outside OK Supermarket at Godini I was hit by one of the ZRP horses on the forehead, as they were rushing to TM supermarket just near OK. I was left traumatised and fell on the ground, bleeding on the forehead. People who witnessed the incident came and assisted me in standing on my feet and picking up my parcels which I had thrown onto the ground. They were coming from Ross Camp and I was not aware they were moving on my direction.”

“I did not go anywhere to report or seek medication. Where would I report, to who and who injured me? People advised me to go and report at Ross Camp and some said at Central police station. However, I just went back home and drank painkillers. I almost died on that day but well, the Lord saved me. How would I fight this in this country? I will keep my silence. I think a lot of people were injured on that day but who can voice out? No one would, we will just suffer in silence.”

We urge the law enforcement officers to respect the rights of vendors and informal traders as they do their patrols. It is deplorable that vendors and informal traders’ rights continue to be violated and treated inhumanely whereas Section 24 of our Constitution guarantees them the right to work and support their families.

 The Constitution of Zimbabwe states that all citizens have the right to be protected and the right to life, therefore they must not be harmed.

We implore the government to ensure that the citizens are protected even when it is enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, it is its obligation to ensure that the rights of citizens are preserved.

Contact details: Fourth floor, Suite 406, Fidelity Life Building Fife street and 11th Avenue Email:bulawayovendors@gmail.com Facebook: Bulawayo Vendors Trust/ Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association Twitter: @bvtatrust Website: www.bvtatrust.org Phone: +263 713 635 908

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