Mugabe says import ban retaliation against South Africa

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PRESEIDENT Robert Mugabe has intimated that his government’s decision to ban importation of certain foodstuffs badly needed by Zimbabweans was mooted in retaliation to a similar protectionist move by Pretoria.
In his address to thousands of people made up of mainly military service personnel gathered to mark Heroes Day in Harare, Monday, Mugabe said South Africa had implemented measures similar to Statutory Instrument 164 when Zimbabwe was exporting medicines to its southern neighbor.
“If the South Africans feel aggrieved we should talk,” said Mugabe.
“The South Africans also cried foul over the medicines we were exporting to that country.
“They did not want us to transport those medicines by road; rather they wanted us to use air which would make them uneconomic on landing. So we must talk with our colleagues in South Africa.”
And in what could be an indication of Mugabe’s growing unease with his “all-weather friend China” the veteran ruler poked fun at goods from the Asian economic behemoth.
“Every nation has to protect its industry, its common across the globe and we will not allow cheap goods including those second hand clothes being brought in from China,” he said.
“That is dumping and we will not allow it. There are also injected chickens from Brazil. They were using South Africa as a conduit, we say no. We can supply our local market including eggs and pork.2
In June this year government introduced SI164/2016 banning several foodstuffs and products that are currently scarce under the guise of protecting local manufactures.
The move sparked violent protests including the torching of a warehouse in the border town of Beitbridge. Other anti-government protests erupted across the country fronted by a social movement under the banner of #ThisFlag and led by cleric Evan Mawarire.
While Mawarire has called for peaceful protests, Mugabe claimed the activist was agitating for violent confrontation with authorities.
“But some like Mawarire, we do not know where he came from, latching on to it and inspiring protest. He urged people to go into the streets. They damaged property and threw stones at police. That is no good and will not be allowed,” Mugabe said.Advertisement