Social And Economic Problems In Zimbabwe

Begging has been in existence since time immemorial. Religious text demostate the existence of begging in the early years of creation. The Redgveda, a classical Hindu text cites giving arms as way of seeking salvation.(Gore 1963) the Christians also had gifts for the poor(Mauss 1954). The problem of begging is a universal phenomenon and highly visible socio-economic and physical problem of most cities in Africa. The begging act that is employed by beggars in the third world is different with those that are employed in the developed nations. ' Khan,2013 observed that beggars get money in developed countries by performing their arts and skills but in India they are getting money only on the basis of sympathy or on the mercy of society.

In many urban areas of Africa , street beggars are found everywhere in public spaces, such as filling stations, restaurants, banks, super markets, foot outlets, bus terminus and Zimbabwe most of the beggars found in streets are disabled people. Most of these poverty-ridden disabled persons have taken the advantage of the anomic situation of most urban centre's to remain permanent residents (legal or illegal) of these cities. A state of anomie is that obtained in relatively large towns and cities where members of the same neighborhood (or even compound) do not or seem not to know or care about other members or what they do, so far they are not directly affected. (Adedibu, A. A. &Jelili,). There a various reasons for engaging in begging behavior. Most disabled people on the street see vending as a way to acquire money quickly. It also the same strategy that migrants adopt often end up becoming obstacles in the achievement of their goals. (Kwankye, Anarfi, Tagoe, &Castaldo, 2007; W. Mitullah, 2003; W. V. Mitullah, 2005).

In Zimbabwe begging emerged due to urbanization under the colonial government. The African culture did not allow one to be treated as a beggar or destitute. Colonization brought with them their foreign culture which broke the African norms and values. Prior to the arrival of white in Zimbabwe joy and problems were shared amongst the kinship or by the community. The colonial had a way of controlling begging of the black indigenous people. It introduced oppressive laws to deal with begging. The Natives Accommodation andRegistration Act of 1946 legislation obliged local authorities to financeand administer urban black townships, and provided them with diemachinery to do so. It also made local authorities responsible for dieoperation of'pass laws'. Vagrancy Act was enacted in 1960 to regulate the flow of male migrants totown according to the availability of employment. It also served to preventthe accumulation in urban centre of large numbers of unemployed, whowere perceived by the colonial local authorities and government to be athreat to civil peace in the urban areas.Since all urban areas were designated white areas, black townships weretechnically located within the white areas, and therefore all blacks living inthese townships were living there not as a right but as a privilege. The size ofthe black urban population (including dependents) was therefore verymuch a function of the availability of employment and the provision ofhousing.The Laws such as the pass systems was enacted to deal with black beggars and destitute. It enacted laws which barred black people to be seen in the towns and cities. The way the city was accessed by the blacks did not allow beggars and destitute in town. It was only those who were employed by the companies and the colonial government to come to the city. From the time of the colonial occupation in die 1890s until die independence of Zimbabwe in 1980, die urban areas of Zimbabwe were considered die preserve of the white population. (Dian Patel 1988).

The colonial government had sound social policy in place which allowed them to take care of its poor class. There was free education and health for white of low income. This education compulsory act only for European children and also allowed for the provision of free education to day scholars among the European population only. (Riddell, 1980).

In 1980 when the nation attained its independence from the colonial government it opened the flood gates of rural to urban migration. Between 1980 and 1990 the number of people who migrated to Harare increased at astronomical levels. This can be attributed to anumber of factors including the removal of the influx control legislation, the migration of the families of 'single' men who, as a result of legislativerestriction and for economic reasons, had remained in the rural areas; thepressure of population in much of the communal lands; the stagnation ofemployment opportunities on commercial farms; the fact that averageincomes for blacks in the urban areas are much higher than in thecommunal lands, and opportunities for employment are perceived to begreater in the urban areas; the impact of the drought on the rural areas; andthe increased security of urban living resulting from the Mugabegovernment's extension of home ownership to occupants of formerlypublically owned rental housing stock. The bright city of Harare attracted the youth and disabled people from the rural areas.

By 1990 faced numerous problems like housingproblems, growing unemployment, closing of companies. The country was then forced to adopt the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme. The programme entailed the rolling back of the state. Market forces were sought to control and regulate economy. The result was untold suffering of the vulnerable groups.

The management of disability issues also shifted its focus from institunisation to community based care. Prior disabled people in Zimbabwe were being kept by organizations such as Jairos Jiri, LeonardCheshire homes and many others. In the mid 1990 these homes started removing this disabled people from their homes back to their communities. Many of them could not be absorbed by their families hence they become destitute and began to stay in the streets of Harare. Disabled were released from this home without skills to be employed by the companies. Those with skills could not find jobs; the industry sector was already shutting down due to influx of cheap imported goods. The unemployment was already rising due to the introduction of ESAP. The disabled were left with no option but to venture into vending and begging.

Historically, the world over people with disabilities have been ridiculed, killed, abandoned to die and condemned to permanent exclusion in asylums (Pritchard, 1963). Greeks abandoned their disabled babies on hillsides to die, while early Chinese left their people with disabilities to drown in rivers (Anang, 1992). In Africa they were also killed. Negative attitudes towards people with
disabilities are still prevalent in Zimbabwe, (TsitsiChoruma 2006). People with disabilities in Zimbabwe were marginalized and treated as if they are not capable of functioning on their own. Disability is equated with inability (Peters and Chimedza, 2000). People with disabilities treated from two viewpoints in Zimbabwe. The first one is the medical model, which views them as sick, as requiring medical attention to help improve them. And the community should pity them. The second view point is the curse phenomena. Disabled people are viewed as a result of curse of the family. It is seem as bad omen to give birth to a disable child. Those who give birth to a disabled child try to hide it from the community. Or the birth of a disabled child can result in the break of the family. The wife is usually divorced being accused of promiscuity or witchcraft.

In Zimbabwe the family has been responsible for taking care of its disabled members.However, pressures from urbanization and changing patterns of employment leading to urban migration have resulted in the breakdown of the extended family system (Peters and Chimedza, 2000).
As one of many developing countries, Zimbabwe is facing a variety of differing social and economic problems. Some of the most serious problems are high degree of poverty and unemployment, rampant HIV/ AIDS infection, rapid population growth and migration on a massive scale (Mulat, 2002: 10). The collapse of the economy also lead to the collapse of social grand for disabled people. People with disabilities used to access a monthly grand to cushion them from the economic challenges. Though the money was not much, but it contributed towards the buying of food for the family. This has led to an influx of vulnerable people into urban centers and in particular to the streets of Harare. People in different vulnerable categories choose different portfolios of strategies. Having no alternative means of survival, many of these vulnerable disabled people turn to begging on the streets, around church o, at traffic lights, around commercial areas and rely on the traditional generosity rooted in the Zimbabwea culture.
Zimbabwe has become a country of confounding paradoxes where poverty has become one of the chief social problems, especially for the vulnerable such as the disabled people (Raftopolous (2009). In particular, the dollarization of the economy in 2009 left many disabled people in the city of Harare in particular and Zimbabwe in general with a myriad of challenges (Hanke, 2009). According to World Health Organization estimates, there are about 1,3million people with disabilities in Zimbabwe, which is about 10% of the total population (Economic Commission for Africa, 2011). In common with the fate of people with disabilities the world over, people with disabilities in Zimbabwe suffer from widespread violation of their fundamental freedoms and rights.

It should be noted that the country's economic terrain has been bleak for the past decade (Hanke, 2009). The country in general has been facing an unemployment rate of over 85%, since 2008 when annual inflation was 231 million percent (Zimbabwe Central Statistic Office, 2008). In 2009, the World Bank estimated that the country's urban poverty was 40% whilst a poverty assessment study by Save the Children suggested that 10 out of 13 million Zimbabweans are living in poverty. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also noted that about 78 percent of the country's population were absolutely poor in 2010 (Bird and Prowse, 2011) and lived under the poverty datum line and this is also corroborated by the New Zimbabwe which approximated that about 65 percent of the population lived below the food datum line in December 2010 (New Zimbabwe, January 2011).

In 2004, the country's unemployment rate stood at 80%, and the deteriorating economic meltdown led to many companies closing their businesses (Mpofu, 2008). Ligthelm (2008) suggest that the rise in unemployment is a result of the country's formal sector incapacity to have new businesses. According to Dhemba (2011), in June 2009, about 3 to 4 million Zimbabweans were in the informal sector employment, supporting another 6 million people. With the highest unemployment rate in the region, Zimbabwe's disabled people are usually the last to be hired and as a result most of them resort to selling items such as cell phones, airtime, sweets, clothes, watches and fruit from the pavements, mixing with able-bodied fellow vendors (Bloch, 2009). As noted by National Association for the Societies of the Care and Handicapped (NASCOH) the aggressiveness of disabled vendors emanates from desperation from the shaky economic times (The Standard, September 2011)
Paradoxically, Non Governmental Organisations and other donor agencies have focused their poverty alleviation strategies and programmes principally on rural areas, thereby ignoring the urban poor and disabled. For instance, a survey by Together for Justice and Peace (CTJP) in Harare townships revealed that more than 55 percent of family households lived on a single meal a day (Jones, 2009). Additionally, Ndlovu (2008) points out that the disabled people in the towns face exclusion from education and employment and hence become more vulnerable to poverty, lack of access to health care, and neglect. Researches by Mpofu (2011) found that only 33% of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe have access to education, compared with over 90% for the able-bodied populace. Thus, persons with disabilities have found it difficult to enter into the job market due to lack of education. Ampofo (2004) elucidate that the absence of education and training acts as stumbling blocks that limit the disabled persons from getting formal sector employment.

The concept of in Zimbabwe

Beggingis a an indicator of abject poverty (Adedibu, 1989). It is a major way out for the helpless poor. The presence of beggars is perceived to be indicative of larger social ills or issues and can cause others to avoid beggar-inhabited areas (Clapper 2012, 1). Begging is commonly defined as the act of stopping people on the street to ask for assistance, for example in the form of food or money (Bose and Hwang 2002, ; Collins and Blomley 2003, ).Begging is generally viewed as an activity emanated from poverty and destitution. It ispracticed to obtain from others what one is unable to get by oneself. It is a request directed to the rest of the society to bring oneself out of misery and poverty. Ahamdi (2010), states that begging is a social problem which has not only psychological consequences such as the development of inferiority complex in the beggars' family members and their network of kinship, but also problem of begging will affect , as an unpleasant problem, the geographical and social structure of the urban areas

However, not all beggars are poor or motivated into begging by poverty, and not all the poor are beggars.This, therefore, necessitates the need to re-examine the concept of begging and related issues. To beg, according to the Oxford Dictionary (sixth edition, 2001), simply means to ask for money, food, clothes, etc, as a gift or as charity. This implies that begging is not peculiar to individuals, but also organizations or countries. For the latter group, it is conceptualized here as 'corporate begging'; and it is made to include seeking for charity by organizations or grants or debts cancellation by richer organizations or nations to poorer organizations or nations. The former category, which is the concern of this study, is synonymous with street and house-to-house begging; it borders on such issues or related concepts as 'panhandling' 'mendicancy' and 'vagrancy' which characterize city beggars. This conceptualization would not only capture the image of the begging and beggars in question, but also reflect their implications for the city's physical and socio-economic environment. It is important to state that while 'street and house-to-house begging' and 'panhandling' are synonymous, and may represent the general idea, of asking people for money, food etc, mendicancy and vagrancy connotes more than street begging. Mendicancy, as an art of begging is usually associated with religious inclination. Vagrancy, on the other hand, refers to begging activity of the jobless, homeless, and wanderers or vagabonds. It involves people who have been driven by natural disasters to leave home in search of richer areas as well as refugees (Hanchao Lu 1999) who become beggars in the new places they migrate to.Begging is generally viewed as an activity emanated from poverty and destitution. It ispracticed to obtain from others what one is unable to get by oneself. It is a request directed to the rest of the society to bring oneself out of misery and poverty. In this regard, MOLSA (1992:2) defined begging as a method of earning one's living from the income obtained from other sectors of society using age, health and economic conditions as a means of gaining sympathy.

For the purpose of this study, however, the concept of begging or beggary can be conceptualized as an act of asking gifts as a means of livelihood and hence is essential for survival.It is not possible to attribute begging to a single cause. According to Anderson (1961), the conditions and motives that make people homeless in general and beggar in particular may be classified into five main heads: (a) unemployment and seasonal work, (b) the misfits of industry,whether due to physical handicaps, mental deficiency, occupational diseases, or lack of vocational training (c) defects of personality as feeble mindedness, constitutional inferiority, or egocentricity which lead to the conflict of the person with constituted authority in industry, society, and government (d) crisis in the life of the person as family conflicts, misconduct and crime, which exile a man from home and community and detach him from normal social ties, (e) racial or national discrimination where race, nationality or social class of the person enters as a factor of adverse selection for employment and (f) wanderlust-the desire for new experience, excitement, and adventure, which moves the boy to 'see the world'


Legislation in empoweringpeople with disabilities

The constitution of Zimbabwe is the supreme law of the land. In it existthe, The Education
Act of 1987 with amendments of 1986 and 2006. Thedisabled Persons Act of 1992 with amendment 1994 and the empowerment act. The country recently adopted a new constitution. and signed the united nation convention These laws were meant to protect and empower the disabled people.Existing legislation appears not to be effectivelycushioning people with disabilities as far as empoweringthem through various programmes is concerned. Thismay be because the legislative provisions are notcomprehensive enough or that persons with disabilitiesare not taking advantage of the legislation. Nyathi (1984)expressed concern that despite this commitmentZimbabwe's approach to empowerment and employmentissues of people with disabilities remained lukewarm.Despite the fact that the Government of Zimbabwe has indeed enacteddisability legislation, disability issues, when compared with other competing
economic and developmental challenges, remains a low priority. However,in recent months the President has appointed a special adviser on disabilityissues, but it remains very unclear what is his mandate, and what strategies

The extent to which disability is really prioritized by the Governmentof Zimbabwe is unclear. The Government perceives disability as a non'threatening and non-political
issue. disability issues are the last to be addressed. Therefore, it welcomes the involvement of non-governmental organizations in the disability sector.This is somewhat ironic, considering that the international disabilitymovement, which in the past has been spearheaded by some veryprominent Zimbabwean disabled people, has a very strong, overt politicalagenda, which places a great deal of emphasis on human rights, nondiscrimination,empowerment and choice.

Theoretical framework

The study employed the two theoretical framework vicious circle of poverty and livelihoods theory. The 'vicious circle of poverty' theory seeks to explain the perpetuation of poverty in communities and indicates that poverty as a subculture, passes from one generation to another and becomes institutionalized amongst the poor. The poor end up being trapped by their poverty. It is one of the factors which condition someone to the phenomenon of begging. The theory emphasizes on people's inability to manage risk rather than their attitude to risk as a way of breaking the vicious circle of poverty. Other characteristics of poverty which make escape difficult are low levels of education, low self esteem, poor health, lack of skills, absence of support mechanism, remoteness from market, lack of physical asset or borrowing power, malnourishments or combination of the above (Ogunkan and Fawole, 2009). As a result, the poor are trapped in the situation with little chance of escaping such that in a vicious process, poverty is maintained among the poor across the generations. Therefore, in order for the poor to meet their basic needs, they have to resort into begging. The vicious circle of poverty helps to explain the existence of begging across the generations (Jelili, 2006).

Livelihood is the recognition of multiple activities and assets that are available to a person that can be engaged to ensure survival and well-being. At the centre of the theory are the different kinds of assets a person can draw from to build their livelihoods. These are influenced by the context, which refers to the sources of insecurity to which people and their assets are vulnerable. Access to and the use of assets is influenced by policies, organizations and relationships towards and between individuals and organizations. To use the words assets and access when describing the livelihood strategies of very poor people feels weird because being deprived.


Harare is the capital City of Zimbabwe. it has over two million inhabitants and cover 872 square meters. (ZIMSET 2012).The city was founded in 1890 by a Pioneer Column, which was a military volunteer force organized by Cecil Rhodes. Harare was given the status of a fort at that time. It was then known by the name of 'Fort Salisbury'.After sometime, the place was known only as 'Salisbury'. In 1897, Salisbury was declared as a municipality. It was in the year of 1935, that Harare was declared as a city. Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 and during the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence (April 18th, 1982) the city's name was changed to Harare.

This study was conducted in Harare central Business. The study targeted buys street roads, entrance of supermarkets and food outlets. As observed by beggars frequently these areas with high population density. The beggary problem in the Harare has a lot to do with poverty , high employment rate , the collapse of the social disability fund and failure of social institutions to address social disorder like street begging. This study has been done by employing a cross-sectional research design. Semi -structured questionnaire was used to collect data; focus group discussions (FGDs), key informant interview and observation were also used. The data was collected from 63 people with disabilities and16 key informants from shop owners and municipal police. Primary data were collected from street beggars found in any public area begging for alms; using convenience or accidental sampling method. Since the street beggars keep on moving from here and there, it would have been very difficult to prepare any sampling framework, out of which to select the desired sample by applying principles of random method. Instead, selection of the interviewee was based on their easy accessibility or their availability on the streets. The focus groups were stratified into men adults, women adults and youth group. Each group consisted of 8 to 13 members separately from the municipal police and shop owners . In total 5 focus groups were established for discussions.

Secondary data were derived from the findings stated in published and unpublished documents related to the research problem. These were based from the recent literatures related to street begging and the concepts cited by the respondents. The secondary data were collected from various documentary sources such as journal papers, internet materials and other documents relevant for the study. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed separately in order to complement and supplement each other. Qualitative data obtained from observation, focus group discussions (FGDs) and interview with key informants were analyzed through themes and contents. Subsequently, responses from questionnaires were coded, summarized and analyzed using the excel pakage. Descriptive statistics was used to obtain frequency and percentages of coded responses.

6. Discussion of Findings

Young males dominate street begging. Those with the ages between 15 to 24 demonstrate that there are more male beggars. However as people become old it is female numbers increase more than their male counterparts. This is as a result of many factors. In Zimbabwe life expectancy of females is higher than males. Women tend to have more responsibilities as they get older as they have to take care of their orphaned grandchildren.

Beggar their processed to buy food, paying rentals, medication, entertainment ,payment of fees and with 16% using alcohol. These group claims that the reason of buying alcohol is to manage stress. One begging claimed that begging is stressing. Being seen by all the people as a useless person who only can survive from hand outs from the members of the society. It shows that you have no capacity to look after yourself.

People with physical disabilities dominated begging in Harare. They constitute 57% of beggars in Harare. The number also reflects world disability trends. Worldwide there are more people with physical disabilities than other types of disabilities. 33 percent are vsisually impaired people. Only ten percent are mentally disabled.

The research revealed that in Harare there exits three categories of begging namely passive begging, active begging and aggressive begging. The three categories were also identified by
(Burke, 1999, Horn& Cooke, 2001. Passive beggars involve a person either sitting or standing in one place with a sign or receptacle entreating donations. The receptacle arepurported to have been written by organization representing persons with disabilities. These cards claim that the individual is suffering from a disease which needs operation to be undertaken. This category is dominated by those aged 45 years and above. 67 % consist of active beggars. This group is dominated by 15 to 44 years. There is also a group which constitutes 5% which I called the aggressive beggars. This group constitutes those who are aged between 15 and 19. this group is still young and do not understand the dynamics of building relationships.

Beggars with disabilities have low level. The majority of the 47% have no formal education. These are also supported with Tsitsi Choruma who observed that a good number of disabled people do not receive education and this have made it difficult for them to get employed. A SINTEF study conducted in 2003 (SINTEF,2003a and 2003b) indicated that 32 per cent of peoplewith disabilities in Zimbabwe have had no schooling.World-wide, the vast majority of adolescents and youth with disabilities do not attend school.Many have never attend school or attended only once in a while, a fact reflected in UNESCO'sestimate that the literacy rate for those with disabilities world-wide is only 3 per cent; the rate forgirls and women with disabilities hovers closer to 1 per cent.

The major causes of begging disabled people in Harare are poverty and unemployment.89% cited poverty as one major cause that have driven them to begging. 96 agreed that begging is the only available to them to earning living because they are not employed. They agreed that if they are given employment opportunities they are willing to quit vending.16% agreed that they beg for extra cash.

Displaying the disabled party
One of the best vending strategy used by vendors is that one of showing the disabled part. Showing the public the disabled part wipes their emotions. They began to see that you are disabled. Those with prostheses limps are forced to remove them and hide them somewhere during the times of begging. For those who uses assistive devices like crutches and white cans, they also display then in front of the so that the public can see them.

Types of gifts they get.
Vendors usually get gift in form of money. Coins are dropped into their begging plates. Depending on the place one is begging from. Those who beggs from the entrance of food outlets and supermarkets usually gift in form of food. They will in turn sell this food to other beggars and get money.

Competition for vending places.
There is cut throat competition for ending places. Busy places are dominated by men while women are found on the outskirt of the central business district. Vendors have got a strong communication network. Over the years they have known each other and were that vending beggs from. Verbal war erupts when enters the territory of the other. It is only in small incidences that such verbal laws result in physical fights.

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