The Chairperson of the Advisory Council of SMEs, Dumisani Ncube, has warned ZANU-PF activists who are scamming informal traders and forcing them to join their associations in Bulawayo to desist from such unethical behaviour, as the party is prepared to take drastic measures against such individuals.

He made this announcement during a meeting attended by vendors operating at 5th Avenue to discuss ways of restoring order in the city.

Some vendors reported being coerced into joining associations and suffering financial losses as a result.

“We appreciate your efforts to revitalise Bulawayo, but it’s important that people have the freedom to choose which associations they join, without coercion. This is causing us harm. Political parties should stay out of the vending business. When forming your associations, don’t come with a party card, whether it’s Mthwakazi, ZANU-PF, or CCC. We don’t want party politics in vending,” voiced one informal trader.

He expressed concerns that vendors are being threatened into compliance with demands, creating a climate of fear among them.

“There are already individuals threatening us, saying that without providing fingerprints, we won’t get vending stalls. We don’t know how you plan to deal with such people because they are actively operating on the ground,” he added.

In response, Ncube clarified that ZANU-PF does not have a policy to coerce vendors into joining associations.

“No one is being compelled to join anything. It’s unfortunate that when I’m absent, people will attribute actions to me that I haven’t sanctioned. There are individuals exploiting others. I had a productive meeting with the ZANU-PF chairperson and gained clarity on their manifesto. As I understood from the provincial leadership of ZANU-PF, when dealing with vendors, vending associations should take the lead, not individuals victimizing others in the name of ZANU-PF,” stated Ncube.

“Those individuals collecting money under false pretences are aware of the risks involved. Don’t assume we aren’t addressing this issue. I’ve also communicated with the chairperson. Vendors should refrain from giving money to such activists out of fear of losing vending stalls.”

“I want to make it clear to those engaging in such activities: vendors should join associations based on their own volition, understanding the benefits. Don’t join an association because you feel pressured or want to secure a vending bay,” emphasised Ncube.

“Leaders who engage in corrupt practices risk facing the wrath of the people. Do you think the President would concern himself with the few dollars you’re collecting? Be cautious. Even the party will take stern measures against those involved. These individuals may even attend our meetings to gather information and manipulate others. Your role as a leader is to propose, not to coerce people,” clarified Ncube. — CITE

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