Scores of Zimbabweans yesterday said the Zanu PF government has “sentenced people to death” by banning second-hand clothes imports which had become the source of livelihood for thousands.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement on Thursday announced the ban of the importation of second-hand clothes among several other measures aimed at resuscitating the economy.
Munashe Simango, a Harare clothes vendor based at the City Sports Centre site, said life would become very difficult for him since the ban would have serious effects on his financial status.
“It’s now difficult for us. That was our source of livelihood. I don’t think this is good. We were paying rentals and school fees through our businesses since they never created jobs for us. They brought us here where there is no water, it’s a dusty place, but they have made it worse by this ban,” Simango said.
“Zimbabweans are hardworking people but we wonder why they treat us like this. Why are they punishing us like this? It seems they don’t want us in the country. They don’t want us to survive. They ordered us to come here and they now ban second-hand clothes.”
Betty Ticharwa, an elderly woman who is also surviving on second-hand clothes, said the government was now turning vendors into criminals.
“We need rent, fees, food, we need money, but what can we do now. We need to survive in our country,” Ticharwa said.
“They are creating thieves. Now you can’t leave anything on the washing line because of the thieves that have been created. Do they want these young men and women to sell their bodies to survive?”
Several other vendors echoed the same sentiments with Marvellous Gwatidzo, saying: “Some of us are single mothers and if I leave this, how will I survive? Should I be a prostitute to survive? I can’t do that but all I want is an honest living to take care of my family. Should we go back to South Africa and face xenophobia?”
A reader commenting on the NewsDay website who identified himself as Abia Junior said: “There are no jobs in this country. We went to school but we can’t work so what do they want us to do? I am a breadwinner, I survive on this. I am not a thief and I also want to live an honest life so if they say I must stop this, how do I survive?”