Scores of Visitors and Exhibitors Stranded

Scores of exhibitors and visitors were on Friday stranded outside the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) exhibition centre after police and armed soldiers closed all the centre's main gates soon after the arrival of Presidents Robert Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart, Michel Sata.

Disgruntled visitors and exhibitors were made to wait for almost three hours outside the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Centre as Mugabe and Sata tour business stands.

A visibly tired Mugabe first visited the Zambian and Mozambican stands on foot and visited the rest of the stands while aboard his official Mercedes Benz . Cabinet ministers and security officials had a torrid time following Mugabe's vehicle on foot. Every year Mugabe visits business stands while walking on foot. There was chaos at the gates as restless and agitated visitors and exhibitors pleaded with the security details to allow them inside. Some visitors who had brought their children to the fair could not withstand the chaos and confusion.

"I have attended trade fair officially opening days for the past ten years with my children, but I have never witnessed this confusion. All the gates have been locked up and nobody is telling us what is happening. ZITF is going to lose a lot of money because I am now leaving .The situation is also becoming increasingly risk for myself and my children," said a man from Hill side who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

An exhibitor from South Africa who only identified himself as Max was also locked outside after he had gone to town to buy mineral water.

"If this is the way you Zimbabweans do business here, then next time I will not come. I have got my accreditation card to show that I been inside before but no one is listening to me. I have lost business for all the time which I have been made to stand outside," he said. The ZITF centre and the surrounding environment was also teaming up with unprecedented security details, some of them perched up in trees.

The Trade Fair kicked off in Bulawayo under the theme "Investing locally, reaping globally".

Sata officially opened the trade fair.

Post published in: News
  1. Mxolisi Ncube

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