Zimbabwe declares war... on second-hand underwear?
If you thought that Zimbabwe's government was cruel, you haven't heard anything yet, as the country's finance minister has outlawed the sale of second-hand underwear.
Conditions in the poverty-stricken southern African country - which has a formal unemployment rate of 80% - have now deteriorated to such an extent that many of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people have resorted to buying second-hand underwear from local flea markets.
That's simply not on, reckons finance minister Tendai Biti, who has banned the importation and sale of second-hand underwear.
“I am told we are now even importing women’s underwear in this country. How does that happen?" asked Biti while speaking to the Zimbabwe Mail newspaper.
"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.”
The newspaper itself has spoke in glowing terms of the new law, which was implemented on December 30, stating: "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.
"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."
When it comes to dehumanisation in the landlocked country, we would have pointed to Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Drive Out Rubbish in English), whereby the government began a campaign to drive out close a million people from their homes in slum areas since 2005. But hey, used underwear is a pretty big deal too.
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