Only in Zimbabwe


imageThree elderly gentlemen say they have a combined 150 years of experience drinking in pubs, clubs and bars the world over. But they have never before seen an optic measure being used to dispense tots of whisky from a quarter jack bottle.

Scotch whisky is not on the new list of banned imports that restricts bringing in products that can be made locally. But favoured, cheaper brands of genuine Scotch have been in short supply because of the “excruciating” economic situation, the term of one top business leader, that has created the dire money shortages.

The lengthy list of banned imports includes the coffee creamer ‘Cremora,’ body lotions, baked beans (Mr Heinz, maker of the world’s best baked beans, shut down production in Zimbabwe a while ago,) potato crisps, canned fruits and vegetables, ice creams, cheese, wheelbarrows, some building materials and many, many other items.

(Mr Colgate, who also shut down his toothpaste plant in Harare as the economy melted, is not on the banned list.)

Local potato crisps and corn flakes, for instance, are more expensive than now-banned imported ones and, quite frankly, are often stale and disgusting. Local baked beans are nowhere near the quality or taste of Mr Heinz’s variety.

Local industry is running at about 30 percent of capacity, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. It also notes that more than 70 percent of goods in supermarkets are imports from South Africa and China.

Big gaps on the shelves are looming. And does anyone remember in 2011 the then information minister Webster Shamu likening Mr Mugabe to Cremora for his quality and strength over dark adversaries?

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