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Activists want ban on importation of secondhand underwear

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th August 2015 11:34 AM

Lobbyists that are pushing for preferential treatment of indigenous companies and industrialists when it comes to awarding public contracts Wednesday petitioned parliament calling for imposition of a ban on importation of secondhand underwear

Activists want ban on importation of secondhand underwear

Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Jennifer (second right ) talking to a secndhand clothes vendor at Luwuum Street Market, Kampala on August 2, 2015. Activists have called for a ban on importation of secondhand underwear. Photo by Ramadhan Abbey

Lobbyists that are pushing for preferential treatment of indigenous companies and industrialists when it comes to awarding public contracts Wednesday petitioned parliament calling for imposition of a ban on importation of secondhand underwear

By Moses Walubiri

Lobbyists that are pushing for preferential treatment of indigenous companies and industrialists when it comes to awarding public contracts Wednesday petitioned parliament calling for imposition of a ban on importation of secondhand underwear.


Under the auspices of Worldwide African Congress (WAC), the activists contend that Ugandans wearing secondhand underwear is not only an affront to the dignity of Uganda in the community of nations but also erodes the pride of those who wear them.

In a petition yesterday to the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige, WAC attached a Bill the import of which is empowerment of local manufacturers with the hope that such ordinary items like undies can be mass-produced locally.

"Save our dignity and health by imposing a ban on the importation of secondhand underwear that include but not limited to underpants, knickers, brassieres, vests, night dresses and subsequently reward those engaging  in their production locally," WAC chairperson, Wafrika Mayambala told Kibirige.

If sanctioned, Uganda will follow other African countries like Zimbabwe, Ghana and Tanzania that have banned importation of used under-garments.

Justifying its decision to ban importation of used undies two years ago, Zimbabwean government described recycled underwear as "an insult to the dignity" of its people.

While a few affluent Ugandans shop from drapers that stock their shops with expensive garments and lingerie by renowned designers in Europe and America, majority of shoppers flock to various second-hand markets to buy their various clothing items –including undies.

This means that a ban on used undies is most likely to hit both sellers and buyers of such products hard in the pocket.

However, governments that have imposed a ban on importation of recycled undies have premised their decisions on research by dermatologists and health consultants who aver that people should entirely avoid used underwear because of the health risks they pose.

Research indicates that some bacteria is very resistant and can survive harsh conditions for long periods on clothes.
Eminent researchers maintain that regular wash may not get rid of some of the 'recalcitrant' bacteria, especially those that come with discharge from the body of the previous user.

"We cannot be a serious country when our people are wearing underwear thrown on landfills in the western world," Mayambala with WAC coordinator, Ruqayyah Kalungi in tow told the media after presenting the petition.

Under the Bill proposed by WAC, activists want government to offer tax breaks and other incentives it normally bestows upon foreign investors to local industrialists as a way of fostering local manufacturing.

However, WAC will have to find a legislator willing to table the Bill as a private member's Bill since an ordinary Ugandan cannot table a piece of legislation in parliament.

Activists want ban on importation of secondhand underwear

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