Police Turn Traders To Survive In Zimbabwe | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Police Turn Traders To Survive In Zimbabwe

Posted: Sep 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Reports say more Zimbabwean policemen are turning to part-time salesmen, in a bid to survive the biting economic crunch.

Zimbabwe has been struggling for five years to recover from a catastrophic recession that led to widespread food shortages, fuelling 500 billion per cent hyperinflation and prompting it to adopt the U.S. dollar in 2009.

Drought and weak global commodity prices have halved this year’s economic growth forecast to 1.5 per cent.

It’s a far cry from the joy of independence in 1980, when President Robert Mugabe was revered by many at home and the World Bank rated Zimbabwe the most promising economy in Africa.

Now, alongside maintaining law and order in the capital city, some junior police officers sell phone recharge cards and the staple Sadza served with beef trotters inside their offices to supplement income.

“It is normal, that’s how you earn extra money. Everyone wants to eat and make a call,” said a police constable who could not be named because she is not authorised to speak to the press.

Police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, said she was not aware of the practice, which is against police regulations.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe estimates an average family of six needs $580 a month to buy enough food and household essentials. The lowest ranking police officer earns a gross monthly salary of $527.

Outside the main station, Reuters reports that police charge traders at Harare’s busiest flea markets a daily rate of $5 to sell clothes, mostly second-hand and imported from Mozambique, where they are donated by Western charities.

In July, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa banned imports of used clothes. They are now smuggled instead across the long, poorly-policed border.

As Zimbabwe sheds any veneer of formally regulated commerce, a host of vendor unions claim to represent between 100,000 and six million traders, nearly half the nation’s 13 million people.


* Source: Reuters