The International Cross-Border Traders Association has warned all cross-border traders and shoppers that it will shut down all commercial activities at all Zimbabwe’s borders starting from today, August 8 2016 until further notice.
However, while a communiqué circulating on social media and also available on some of the country’s online news mediums such as nehandaradio.com and makuhwa.co.zw indicates that all neighbouring countries to Zimbabwe are aware of this stay away, Malawian officials have expressed ignorance of the communiqué.
In an interview yesterday, Immigration Department deputy spokesperson Wellington Chiponde said the department had not received any communication regarding the Zimbabwe borders shut down.
Similarly, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said he was not aware of the issue. He also expressed doubt on the authenticity of the body that has issued the statement.
“I am not aware of that statement. But I also doubt if the organisers would inform foreign governments because that is their own domestic issues.
“An international body does not have mandate to close borders of a sovereign state. My initial reaction would be that maybe it is part of the cross-borders of Zimbabwe not international in the sense of representing many countries. I would doubt that,” said Nkombezi.
Efforts to speak to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered.
According to statement on the borders shut-down, the act will be done as a way of demanding that the government of Zimbabwe abolishes Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which bans imports into Zimbabwe.
“Truck drivers, bus drivers, motorists, heed this call. Don’t be a hero for nothing. Stay home or wherever you are starting from 8th August 2016. All neighbouring countries to Zimbabwe are aware of this stay away,” reads part of the communiqué.
A man whose contact number is appearing on the communiqué, who only identified himself as Joseph, authenticated the statement in a telephone interview on Thursday. He said there will be protests in all Zimbabwe’s borders and as such, trading activities will not be possible.
“All countries that share direct borders with Zimbabwe will be affected. Our wish is that no movement by cross-border traders should be possible from August 8,” said Joseph.