Price increases spoil Christmas cheer

HARARE - The Christmas season is a time that is supposed to evoke joy, good cheer and benevolence towards our fellow humans. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

With the Christmas season now here, tradition dictates that consumers flood shopping malls and department stores to buy everything in sight.

But the skyrocketing prices of food is surely going to dampen the Christmas spirit in Zimbabwe.

With Zimbabwe entering hyperinflation according to independent economists, the middle classes are reeling while the poor are struggling for survival, let alone any hint of good cheer.

Many of Zimbabwe’s poor will simply forget Christmas this year. Few people still have income or savings to buy staple foods, which have jumped in price by nearly 100 percent in the last few weeks, putting them out of reach of the average family

Retailers in the capital Harare say Christmas sales are down to unprecedented levels.

Some supermarkets are deserted two days ahead of Christmas. Even basic necessities cost more than many employed people can afford. And with unemployment at about 90 percent and rising, most Zimbabweans live in abject poverty.

In the rural areas the situation is worse.

All the same, this is a time to reflect on an action filled-year, when good triumphed over evil, a year that Zimbabweans united to stop a Mugabe dynasty that was beckoning. With the tacit backing of the military, citizens heaved a great sigh of relief after pushing former president Robert Mugabe out of office after 37-years of unbridled rule, jubilantly thronging the streets and bestowing accolades to the newfound liberators.

For Christians, what is right is that this holiday marks the celebration of the birth of their Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Considering the significance of that it should humble any true believer and make them offer focus where it is due.

For most non-Christians, this remains a significant secular holiday, often affording precious time with friends, family and loved ones. Such an opportunity is a special gift worth embracing.

In the spirit of the season, our sincere wish is for everyone to have a happy and meaningful Christmas holiday.

We urge Christians to take time to truly remember the tenets of faith and reflect on exactly why this day is important.

For non-Christians we suggest that you use the occasion to consider life’s blessings and to share a kindness of spirit with those around you.

And, finally, that peace be with us all.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.