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Zimbabwe's Women Vendors Plead With Gov't Over Used Clothes Ban


Angry vendors protest over confiscated wares outside Harare Town Hall. (Photo: Thomas Chiripasi)

Angry vendors protest over confiscated wares outside Harare Town Hall. (Photo: Thomas Chiripasi)

Some women vendors who sell second hand clothes in Zimbabwe are calling on Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to review an upcoming ban on the importation of second hand clothing saying it will destroy their livelihoods.

Chinamasa announced the ban during his 2015 mid-term budget review last week.

Pauline Kabanzi, a vendor in Chegutu, says the ban will affect many families who were relying on used clothes to earn a living and send their children to school.

“Things are bad in the country and the only thing that people can afford is to buy things that cost a dollar,” said Kabanzi.

“We are appealing to the minister and the government to understand that for now this is all we can do – buy and sell used clothes to earn a living because ordinary people cannot afford new clothes because they have no money.

Meanwhile, proportional representative lawmaker for Matebeleland South Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said women lawmakers are also lobbying Chinamasa to reverse the ban but maintain it only when it comes to women’s under clothes.

“I do not care what people say, I still maintain that the ban should be about undergarments,” she said. “I would rather prefer women to go around without undergarments than for them to wear underwear that has been worn by someone else. It brings illnesses.”

She said women lawmakers are appealing to Chinamasa to lift the ban on all other used clothing except undergarments.

Most Zimbabweans are out of formal employment with millions now hawking on the streets to earn a living. Harare has been struggling to rid the city of vendors who are selling on almost every pavement in the capital.

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