Mitumba dealers protest EAC plans to ban imports

Friday March 18 2016

Second hand clothes sellers display their wares at an open air Market in Olkalou Nyandarua County on March 10, 2016. The government plans to ban the importation of second hand clothes popularly known as mitumba. PHOTO | JOHN GITHINJI | NATION MEDIA GROU

Second hand clothes sellers display their wares at an open air Market in Olkalou Nyandarua County on March 10, 2016. The government plans to ban the importation of second hand clothes popularly known as mitumba. PHOTO | JOHN GITHINJI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAGATI OBEBO
More by this Author

Kisii County second hand clothes dealers have protested plans by East African Community states to ban the trade.

They said mitumba trade plays a critical role in boosting growth of the economy and any plan to ban the trade will spell doom to the fledgling economies.

Head of the traders’ association, Kisii Chapter, Ms Jane Matiabe said the mitumba trade had helped wean off a number of former commercial sex workers from the streets.

She said they need political leaders to re-assess the move.

“We have many women that had been peddling their flesh but courtesy of mitumba they are now earning a decent living. Any ban that would be imposed on the trade will mean that they head back to the streets where they had initially come from,” she told the Nation Friday.

Ms Matiabe also said outlawing the trade will severely affect the economies of the region.

“This is something that will cause economic chaos everywhere. Our children will head back to the streets. Banning mitumba will trigger social chaos, let nobody entertain such ideas,” she added.

In the plan, Uganda has already begun crafting Bills aimed at creating laws to help curb further imports of second hand clothes.
Ms. Matiabe further said Kenya should be wary of assenting to any international treaties which may stymie the local economy.