Harare must be sensitive

MOVES by the City of Harare to clean up the city are commendable as the current state of affairs is untenable. There are areas of the city that are almost impassable as a result of the high concentration of vendors and their wares.

There is nothing wrong with people finding an honest way of surviving, especially in hostile economic climates like ours. However, there has to be order in all that happens, otherwise we risk reducing our once beautiful towns and cities into slum settlements.

In implementing their plans, the city of Harare must take all steps to ensure they remain sensitive to the plight of the physically-challenged who have been surviving as vendors on the streets.
These are human beings like everyone else but most of them do not enjoy equal access to opportunities in society. Because of this, we have to remain sensitive to some of their special needs.
Elsewhere in this paper, we carry a story in which Harare City’s spokesperson Michael Chideme is quoted saying the physically-challenged would be protected.

We believe council would need support to ensure no undeserving people benefit from whatever programme the city may want to put forward for the physically-challenged.

Besides, we have seen from past experience that greed has led to undeserving top officials benefitting from programmes that are not meant for them in the first place.

In finally placing vendors in legal vending sites, there is need to consider the physically-challenged whose options are limited in life.
We are aware that disability does not imply inability but all the same there are opportunities the able-bodied enjoy ahead of their physically-challenged counterparts. Take farming for instance. Not all physically-challenged people can be actively involved in farming. Yes, they may own a farm but working on it is an entirely different story.

Because of such disparities in terms of opportunities at our disposal in society, we should therefore remain sensitive to the needs of our counterparts who may be physically challenged.
We all know the influx of vendors into urban centres in the past few months has been caused by the continued shrinking of the job market. Industries have been forced to close at an alarming rate, throwing thousands onto the streets.

Government has done very little to avert the continued economic decline with the ruling party failing to deliver on its pre-2013 election promise to create 2,2 million jobs. If anything, jobs have actually been lost.

This is the major factor that has driven people onto the streets, as everybody struggles to make ends meet. As council attempts to drive these people off the streets, they should be sensitive to the plight of the physically challenged.

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