Zimbabwe bans sale of used knickers

Harare, Jan 11 (IANS) In a decision better late than never, the Zimbabwe government, realising how abject poverty in the country has pushed its people into buying second-hand lingerie, has banned import or sale of such used undergarments.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, startled to learn that poverty was driving many Zimbabweans to buy used underwear from flea markets or stalls, recently moved a law to ban the sale, the Guardian reported.

‘I am told we are now even importing women’s underwear in this country,’ said Biti. ‘How does that happen? If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you would have failed.

‘If I was your in-law, I would take my daughter and urge you to first put your house in order if you still want her back,’ Biti remarked.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, estimated at more than 90 percent.

The import of ‘articles of second-hand undergarments of any type, form or description, whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner’, is now forbidden, said a government directive.

The ban, which became effective Dec 30, was introduced after a government shakeup.

Zimbabwe, however, is not the first African country to enforce legislation to outlaw the sale of used underwear.

Ghana’s government officially banned the practice in 1994 but started enforcing the law only last year following concerns about it being a health hazard.