For a year, this trade was banned to limit the spread of Covid-19, increasing the vulnerability of informal workers.
For many years, Spiwe Tembo, a 34-year-old single mother, sold sweets on the streets of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, earning enough to feed her three children. But with the advent of Covid-19, his luck changed. Since banning street vending a year ago, as part of a series of measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, she has been working with the police to sort out cats and mice for neighbors and get rid of the traffickers.
“This is rude”, she says. Bribing the police to avoid arrest or fines, confiscation of goods has become his daily life. ” jobs”. “Almost every day, I give the police some money to avoid being arrested”, She said, waving a transparent package full of plump heads, hoping to attract the attention of potential customers on the crowded streets of this neighborhood called the “Third World” because it is messy.
In the days when she had no money, the inevitable happened: she was arrested and the police robbed her of her bread.Then she called “Friends come to the station” Pay his fine. However, she never gave up. “The next day, I borrowed some shares from my relatives and started from scratch.” She often goes home empty-handed. Life became so difficult that she had to send the children home. She no longer has enough money to take care of it.
Agence France-Presse asked about bribery. Police spokesman Paul Nyathi refused to answer.
Emily Chipwanya sells drinks to supplement her civil servant husband’s income, which is too meager to maintain from salary to salary. “Before Covid, it worked well because a lot of people came here”She said, carrying a small bucket of cold drinks.We not only sell less, but “In addition, we were arrested; we no longer know how to make a living”. This young woman eats three meals a day. “There is only one now.”
Kenneth Tauro, 26, has a popular second-hand store in Mupedzanhamo, Harare’s largest township market, which is the “place where poverty ends” in the local language Shona. The store has closed For a year. He tried to sell his clothes elsewhere, but was unsuccessful. His income is less than 10% of pre-pandemic income. “I can’t even tell you when to eat three meals on the same day”, He slipped and fell.
In Zimbabwe, Covid-19 officially infected 34 million people and killed 1,500 of the 14 million people. In a country that has fallen into a severe economic crisis, high inflation and persistent food shortages, it has also plunged millions of people into deeper poverty. The World Food Programme (WFP) recently warned that “The standard of living has fallen sharply” Among the urban poor. Hunger is on the rise, and 2.4 million people are struggling to meet their basic needs.
Blockade measures taken to contain the pandemic “Causing a heavy blow”, car “Many are daily employees who live everyday”According to the World Food Program, the program has provided monthly cash allowances to more than 300,000 urban residents. “Poverty has worsened, especially in urban areas”Confirmed the views of economist Prosper Chitambara. He welcomes assistance from the state to protect informal workers, but he acknowledged that this will be the majority of Zimbabweans: less than 10% of those who can work have formal jobs.