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Zimbabwe may be struggling with extreme poverty and high unemployment rates. But according to one of the country’s top government officials, that’s no reason for its residents to participate in the sale or purchase of secondhand underwear.

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Tendai Biti, the southern African country’s finance minister, is the brains behind a new statute that bans the importation of “articles of second-hand undergarments of any type, form or description, whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner,” according to a report in UK’s The Guardian.

Recently, he sounded particularly offended that any self-respecting husband would even fathom allowing his wife to wear such clothing.

“I am told we are now even importing women’s underwear in this country,” he was quoted saying recently. “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 minister added: “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.”

With one of the world’s highest unemployment rates at more than 90 percent, some Zimbabweans have been forced to buy under garments that are often used or supplied by donations from abroad, according to the report.

The ban, which has been in effect since Dec. 30, has ticked off some trade associations who claim they are being pushed out of business. But there are hopes that the new restrictions will spur the country’s textile industry into producing garments locally.

Ghana had also banned secondhand underwear in 1994 but the measure was never implemented. But last year, officials started enforcing the restriction citing the potential health hazards.


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