Mbanje, bronco sold in broad daylight

Without looking twice, one might mistake Harare for the US state of Colorado, which has been legalised to sell cannabis, if events taking place these days between Fourth Street rank and Roadport are anything to go by.

Cannabis, whose sale and use is prohibited in Zimbabwe, and other drugs are sold in broad daylight in that area by foreign exchange dealers. Their customers are as young as high school kids. Kombi touts, street kids and vendors are regular customers. A plastic case of cannabis, which is roughly 10 grams, sells for a dollar.

Broncleer, a cough syrup popularly known in the streets as bronco, is also sold in that area. It has a very high alcohol content and is often abused by young people seeking a quick, cheap high. The syrup, which is smuggled from Botswana, has been banned by the authorities here.

The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe is on record saying that “This product is not manufactured in Zimbabwe, neither is it registered for sale in this country… It would be a serious offense for a pharmacist or any retailer to sell Bronco.”

According to medical experts, the syrup contains a substance called codeine phosphate, which results in intoxication if one takes more than the recommended dosage. Abuse of the syrup can cause respiratory depression, hypertension, constipation or even death.

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