Little-known opposition Ideas Party of Democracy (IPD) claims that it has provided financial aid and groceries to dozens of Harare informal traders who failed to recover from the effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures.
IPD leader Herbert Chamuka told NewsDay yesterday that beneficiaries were receiving US$10 each per month under the programme “to ensure they have something to eat”.
“The programme started last Friday where beneficiaries receive a basket of groceries which includes 2 litres of cooking oil, 10kg of meal-meal, soap, 2kg sugar and a tin of baked beans plus an allowance of US$10. We have assisted dozens, approximately 100 so far,” he said.
The global pandemic disrupted lives, causing company closures and job cuts with informal traders also not spared as they were forced to suspend operations.
Informal traders have also been at the mercy of law enforcement agents who have made their survival very difficult.
Chamuka said his party was training informal traders to capacitate them with skills to endure economic shocks such as natural disasters, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study.
Under the COVID-19 regulations, borders were closed, rendering most of the people who rely on cross-border trading helpless.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Cross Border traders Association president Killer Zivhu said most cross-border traders had failed to recover from the effects of the lockdowns.
“We are talking about almost 20% of the population which translates to 70% of the population’s livelihoods as they have dependents. Those people technically had no way to put food on the table,” he said.
Thousands have turned to informal trading because of lack of formal employment.