The government of Mozambique reportedly warned Zimbabwe against imposing trade restrictions between the two countries.
Reports indicate that Zimbabwe banned various kinds of goods from Mozambique including alcoholic products.
The development has irked Mozambican authorities who have threatened Zimbabwe with sanctions.
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Mozambique’s Minister of Trade and Commerce, Rajendra De Sousa is alleged to have told President Emmerson Mnangagwa that the ban could be met with retaliation.
De Sousa reportedly told Mozambican industrialists during a business sector reflection seminar in Maputo on Monday that Zimbabwe had placed bottlenecks for trade between the neighbours in clear violation of the Sadc Free Trade Protocol. De Sousa said:
I said Mr President (Mnangagwa), you know that my border colleague is going to get malaria and won’t open the border for three days and he got the message.
… We have this weapon, which is our geographical location. One of these days, that colleague of mine at the border will catch malaria and not open the border for three days.
De Sousa told the meeting that Mozambique brought Malawi back to earth in 2017 after it had banned several products from Mozambique. He said:
When nothing seemed to work, my countrymen (immigration and customs officials at the Mozambique–Malawi border) forgot to open the border for two hours, immediately after which it was raining phone calls and delegations.
Mozambique has this weapon, which is our geographical location. If they stick to the strategy of not using the law and using mechanisms, we will do the same.
Mozambique is Zimbabwe’s closest gateway to the sea and key imports such as fuel, maize and wheat come through the port of Beira.