Bimha, wake up, smell the coffee

HARARE - Government’s recent imports ban, enforced through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 seems to have created more problems than it intended to solve.

Apart from an unnecessary tiff with long-time allies and neighbours South Africa, the ban has removed a lifeline from small traders who used to make a living through acquiring goods for resale in Zimbabwe. Currently, Zimbabwe is facing myriad crises mainly emanating from a dying economy.

Unemployment levels have been worsened by the continuous closure of industries, throwing thousands onto the streets as the country’s graduates are not absorbed into the economy.

In the past few weeks, protestors have taken to the streets to voice their anger at the state of the economy, which has led to a clear decline in standard of life for the ordinary Zimbabwean who is hardest-hit by the successive crises.

However, President Robert Mugabe and his colleagues have not taken pragmatic steps to revive the economy. They have continued to bury their heads in the sand as the country continues to burn. We have seen the #This Flag Campaign, Tajamuka/Sesjikile, Coalition of Unemployed Graduates, Beatthepot — an all women campaign — the war veterans, previously a constituency that propped up Mugabe and his regime, have voiced their anger at government’s failure to extricate Zimbabwe from the current mess.

While political parties have fought their own battles, the aforementioned pressure groups led the mass demonstrations which by any measure were successful given police heavy-handedness in dealing with the peaceful protests. This is despite the fact that the country’s supreme law, the Constitution, allows for these.

However, the imports ban will probably be government’s severest test in recent years. Following the ban, protests engulfed the Beitbridge Border Post and these left a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority warehouse at the country’s busiest port of entry burnt.

The complete border shutdown threatened by local and regional small traders and transporters set to begin tomorrow is bound to cause unprecedented chaos in the country, over and above the effect it will have on traffic to and from Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The small traders and transporters are demanding the lifting of the controversial ban, which may result in shortages of food and other basic goods.

The shutdown will also result in shops and customs clearance operations in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania being closed.

This is coming as former Vice President Joice Mujuru has filed a lawsuit against government over the controversial issue of bond notes as well as the imports ban.

We hope Industry minister Mike Bimha will quickly smell the coffee and do the most honourable thing for the country — reverse the ban.  

Comments (1)

I'm a free trade, free market liberal myself, but I think we should not allow RSA to bully us. They themselves subsidise car exports; they took arbitrary decisions to 'ban' us from driving ex-Japan cars on their highways. So we can't keep importing soap, onions and vaseline from Mussina. No ways.

Rejoice Ngwenya - 9 August 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.