Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zimbabwe bans secondhand underwear

HARARE- Zimbabwe has banned the sale of second-hand underwear. A new law has made it illegal to import or sell used pants. It is now forbidden to import ‘second-hand undergarments of any type form or description – whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner.

Zimbabwe has banned the sale of second-hand underwear
Zimbabwe has banned the sale of second-hand underwear

The ban was introduced by finance minister Tendai Biti, who said he was shocked to discover many Zimbabweans in the poverty-stricken country bought used underwear from flea markets or stalls.

Biti added: ‘I am told we are now even importing women’s underwear. How does that happen? If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you would have failed.” The practise was prohibited under a government clampdown which became effective on December 30.

The bad economy in Zimbabwe had forced many residents into purchasing second hand underwear from markets which have either been supplied with the second hand stock or the underwear has been donated from other developed countries around the world.

Under the new legislation the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will now charge 40 percent duty and 15 percent VAT on all underwear imports and apply a 3USD penalty for every kilogram of pants entering the country.

Local media reported that this new ban is a positive move in the right direction as it will address the health concerns related to the wearing of second hand underwear. It is also believed the law could help protect Zimbabwe’s struggling domestic textiles industry.

Some local newspapers have praised this move saying that it was, “undignified for Zimbabweans to wear previously-used pants. One of the best laws that our country has put in place in recent years is the total ban on the importation of second-hand underwear,” one paper wrote.

“In fact, Tendai Biti and his predecessors at the Finance ministry should have long ago stopped this humiliating reality where Zimbabweans are made to wear undergarments used and discarded by other people.

“Wearing used underwear is most dehumanising and no government worth its salt should allow its citizens to be abused to this extent. What nation have we become that knowingly subjects its people to humiliation and disease?

“It is inconceivable for a country to open its borders for the importation of used underwear – to allow our women to wear undergarments that other women in other countries have used and discarded.”

However Zimbabwe is not the first African country to enforce a legislation to outlaw sale of used knickers. Ghana’s government officially banned the practice in 1994 but started enforcing the law last year following concerns those wearing second hand pants risked infections. Daily Mail

  • Biliwili66

    Did this ever happen? Lord have mercy!

  • ZimbaPower

    By Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

    Murewa, RMT 2012

    It has been a sad week for many people in Zimbabwe as the issue of
    underwear became a public policy issue. The poor, mostly women have
    become so poor, that the country had to regulate the importation of
    second hand underwear.

    In our culture and social life, underpants are the single piece of
    cloth that is associated with protecting the dignity of womanhood or
    manhood. Now, that cloth is a subject of public discussion because of
    poverty, extreme poverty; and some misplaced policy priorities.

    While it is in order for government to protect the health of its
    citizens; what the country needs at this moment is a REAL revitalisation
    of the economy and the stability of the nation.

    Citizens, men and women simply want a decent job, a reasonable
    income, some possibility to run own projects, and raise enough money to
    send their children to school, afford basic heath care and buy decent,
    new and comfortable underwear.

    Possibly, this should be a wake up call for the nation to innovate
    and be creative, revitalise and recapitalise the textile industry. At
    the minimum, we should be a nation that can sew its own underwear! I am
    convinced if well done, manufacturing priorities will definitely harness
    the needs of those at the receiving end.

    Perhaps there is need for those in authority to revisit the notion of
    citizenry in tandem with dignity. If anything, the country should be
    investing in basic social and economic rights especially in the
    restoration of its citizens’ dignity.

    * Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda is the founder and  chairperson of
    Rozaria Memorial Trust, and currently serves as General Secretary of the
    World YWCA. She received the Zimbabwe Women Lawayers Association (ZWLA) ‘s  Human Rights Defender Award, 2011.

  • Tauraigidhiza

    Kutopfeka rakambopfekwa kurinani panekufamba wakadaro mukadzi haaite chiremera kana asina underwear zvakaoma kugara usina kusimira zvinorema.

  • Eyemsd

    kunzima, poor to the extent of sharing an underwear with some one you dont even know

  • Nikhilchandra Shringare

    Well at least they bother to wear underwear! unlike most of our celebrities!

  • Ulixax


  • gudojena

    i think we have gone to the extremes such that our failure has led us to nothing. the law is super i like it because sharing a pant is sharing a lot (diseases)

  • dnt worry

    Chi Government cheku Zimbabwe chatadza n these are the symptons of failure , its so appaulling to learn thats wat is happening in Zimbabwe, .Mhata zvevanhu munondisemesa ,ibvai vamwe vatonge matadza kusvikakopkupedzisera .Nxaaaaaaaa

  • ndamba

    zvirwere zvoga ungapfeke pant yakambopfekwa nemumwe munhu wausingazive its better kugara usina pano kutenga yepasals shame …..

  • Hovio

    There is no reason to ban second hand pants, its not a crime to be poor Hon. Biti. Now that you have banned 2nd hand pants, let us see you provide underwear to our poor mothers and sisters. Its not by choice that you opt to buy a 2nd hand underwear, zvinenge zvatoomesesa chekuita hapana.

    • Cills

      I am with you there……