Forget that gigantic birthday cake. What’s got many Zimbabweans really fed up about President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday party is the fact he was eating a bag of imported Lays chips.
Made by PepsiCo, Lays are most definitely NOT Zimbabwean. Yet Mugabe’s government has made importing foreign products, including food, very difficult since mid-last year, forcing importers to buy special import licences as part of moves to encourage local production.
“Mugabe was snacking on imported lays while washing down with a soft drink from abroad yet to the general populace we can’t access imports,” tweeted @tashymakaza.
Said @zenzele: “# buylocal Mr President”.
The Standard newspaper reported last September that Lays potato chips had “disappeared from the market” in the wake of the infamous Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which set out the new import restrictions. These days Lays are available in some stores.
Zimbabwe’s worsening foreign currency shortages make importing goods very hard because payments to outside suppliers now take weeks to go through. The authorities are getting increasingly critical of payments spent on foreign goods and services, with the central bank chief John Mangudya noting just under two weeks ago – with little pleasure – that DSTV payments alone had seen $45m flowing out of Zimbabwe between July and December last year.
Said @TrendsZim: “Pres Mugabe sips imported bottled water & snacks on imported Lays chips while banning Zimbabweans from importing groceries.”
But there was one cheeky suggestion. Tweeted @WaMariga16: “If i was part @ LAYS Manangement [I] will have # Mugabe as brand ambassador.”
By the way, the Zimbabwe president was eating the cheese and onion ones, it appears.
See the tweets below.
Pres Mugabe sips imported bottled water & snacks on imported Lays chips while banning Zimbabweans from importing groceries.#Mugabe93 pic.twitter.com/hQl7fGDsLs– Trends Zimbabwe ™ (@TrendsZim) February 26, 2017
If i was part @LAYS Manangement will have #Mugabe as brand ambassador @peterndoro pic.twitter.com/296SJlgQNx– #Zimbabwe (@WaMariga16) February 26, 2017