A new law has made it illegal to import or sell used pants.

It is now forbidden to import 'second-hand undergarments of any type form or description -- whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner'.

The hand-me- down knicker band was introduced by finance minister Tendai Biti, who said he was shocked to discover many Zimbabweans in the poverty-stricken country bought used underwear from flea markets or stalls.
Biti added, "I am told we are now even importing women's underwear. How does that happen? If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you have failed."

The practice was prohibited under a government clampdown which became effective on December 30.

The bad economy in Zimbabwe had forced many residents into purchasing second hand underwear from markets.

Under the new legislation the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will now charge 40 per cent duty and 15 per cent VAT on all underwear imports and apply a $3 (Rs 160) penalty for every kilogram of pants entering the country.

Media reported that this new ban is a positive move as it will address the health concerns related to the wearing of second hand underwear.

Some local newspapers such have praised this move saying that it was, "undignified for Zimbabweans to wear previously-used pants."

However, Zimbabwe is not the first African country to enforce a legislation to outlaw sale of used knickers. Ghana's government officially banned the practice in 1994 but started enforcing the law last year following concerns those wearing second hand pants risked infections.