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Import ‘ban’ fallout deepens

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Informal sector organisations on Tuesday stormed Harare’s Roadport bus terminus, where they rallied cross-border traders to resist government’s move to confiscate selected imported goods at the country’s border posts.

by Edgar Gweshe

Stendrick Zvorwadza
Stendrick Zvorwadza

The move by the informal traders came in the wake of government’s move to introduce import licences for a range of goods.

The move was met with resistance from cross-border traders at Beitbridge border post last Saturday.

Addressing the cross-border traders on Tuesday, National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairperson, Stern Zvorwadza said government’s latest move had proved its indifference to the plight of poverty stricken Zimbabweans.

He urged cross border traders to be united and resist any move that negatively affected their livelihoods.

“The government is responsible for the poverty that has pushed people into being vendors and cross-border traders, yet the same government is coming up with policies to stop people from earning an honest living at a time they have killed the economy and failed to create jobs,” he said.

“So, we are saying that government has proved beyond reasonable doubt that they do not care about the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans and it is time for us to unite and act.”

Zvorwadza bemoaned that instead of addressing corruption and bribery at the country’s border posts, the government was “focusing on destroying people’s livelihoods”.

“Cross-border traders have, for long, suffered from corruption by Zimra [Zimbabwe Revenue Authority] officials and despite numerous complaints, no action is taken against the culprits. We expect a reasonable government to focus on ending corruption and improving people’s livelihoods, but that is not the case in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“What we are seeing is a government focusing on destroying people’s livelihoods and, as Navuz, we will join other progressive forces in resisting this.”

Coalition of Traders Association secretary-general, Stanley Manyenga condemned government’s latest move.

“It is quite inhumane, cruel and inconsiderate that a lot of our members lost their wares at various entry points around the country’s borders. The government must immediately stop the confiscation of traders’ goods at the country’s borders or at roadblocks,” he said.

A female cross-border trader, who declined to be named, said: “I turned to cross-border trading after failing to get employment and to feed my family and send my children to school and this move by the government spells doom for my family and the future of my children.

“Personally, I think government is being too harsh on desperate citizens of this country.”

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