REPERCUSSION of arrests, evictions and confiscations against the poor street vendors in Namibia, is a slap resulted to frustrations that ended-up protesting.
As ordinary people, who survives in selling their products through vending, those who have suffered much since March 2020 when the country was completely under the lock down of COVID-19, they are still struggling to be heard.
Though only silence from those delegated with authority to govern them, and no solution addressed their concerns and problems.
An emergency income grant, a once off payment amounts to N$750 injected by the treasury was not enough to feed all households, as most of those who were selling on streets did not benefit from the package because of the criteria which automatically excluded them, and the key beneficiaries were households , formal and informal businesses in sectors spontaneously affected by the lockdown measures.
Whilst in Katima Mulilo alone, we have seen that only a handful of those who benefited via cellphone registration, and mostly street vendors, only received one (1) bag of a 10 Kg maize meal and 4 tinned fish to each , which was distributed by the office of the Prime Minister and the Regional Emergency Management Unit(REMU).
The lifting of the six months state of emergency after its imposition elapsed , has been a welcome move taken boldly to avoid the constitutional amendment and the will of the people to serve the economy, while ignoring the social benefaction.
However, the economic headwinds and the escalated panic waves of the deadly coronavirus epidemics in the bloated Namibian economy need a stint intervention in moving onward.
Given that, recently in Katima Mulilo a group of street vendors have been up in arms calling for the re-opening of their street vending spots around the town of Katima Mulilo, after they were removed by the police in March this year, following President Hage Geingob’s declaration of the State of Emergency.
Our eyes are still open, street vendors in Namibia are being mistreated for no other reason none other than for dirtying the towns and cities centres in selling products on the open air stands, while other vendors who sell cheap products , watches and jewellery are Namibians and foreign nationals.
Looking on the current status quo caused by COVID-19, street vendors or hawkers should be given chance to sell their items in the streets freely, in order to continue their livelihood since the government cannot feed or employ everyone, at least they deserve to feed their family on the little income they get daily.
In a poll conducted by the Caprivi Vision on its home page website, http://www.caprivivision.com/ with a question that Should Katima Council remove street vendors? , results have showed that 79 percent of the votes were in favour of not removing them out the streets, and 21 percent voted against.
Currently there’s no law or policy in Namibia which recognizes and regulating the street vending business in the country.
Therefore, government and the law makers should consider scrutinizing the law that will allow street vending business, and to otherwise respect them as human beings in a dignified manner, so that they can make a meaningful life out of their sales.