Zimbabwe shut down earns Immigration officials paid holiday
The usually bustling Ramokgwebana and Plumtree border posts on the Botswana and Zimbabwe sides respectively were quite this weekend as cross border trades stayed home for the Zimbabwe shutdown protest.
For the past decade or so, the two border posts have been the second busiest inland ports of entries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, as Zimbabweans flocked into Botswana daily in search of basic commodities.
Scores of Zimbabweans had found solace in the cross border trade, as unemployment has reached unprecedented levels and many resorted to the informal sector for survival.
It is against this backdrop that the two border posts have been a beehive of activity for decades.
A visit to both border posts on Wednesday afternoon by Voice crew however established that there wasn’t much activity on the day.
This follows a ‘total shutdown’ that was experienced in most of Zimbabwe’s towns and cities after Zimbabweans on Wednesday heeded a call by civic society leaders to stay home to show their anger over the current social and economic problems faced by that country’s citizens.
A driver of a Harare-bound bus, Moses Maengahama said he had only 20 passengers on board.
Following the ban of imported basic goods into Zimbabwe by the government at the end of last month, very few Zimbabweans have been crossing borders into the neighboring countries and today business is extremely bad.
“It has been tough,” said Maengahama, while trying to call home in a bid to confirm whether it is safe for them to cross into Zimbabwe or not.
“People are being killed back home and buses torched. So I am trying to confirm the situation from my boss,” he said.
Taxi operators plying their trade between the two border posts have also expressed despair saying a paltry number of people has been crossing into either countries.
“Under normal circumstances, I can have a daily taking of $45 (P450) but since Friday, I have been hardly making $10 (P100),” lamented Nkosinathi Muziwethu.
Immigration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they do not have authority to speak to the media said they are enjoying a paid holiday.