Ordinary Zimbos' plight in crisis

HARARE - The two percent tax impinges the elite, who transact large sums of money, an economist said this week, noting that the masses should just endure the pain as the government makes efforts to redress an inherited economic fiasco.

But how much can an ordinary citizen with either a paltry salary that has been reduced to peanuts in the past few days or worse, battling with unemployment, bear?

The skyrocketing foreign exchange rates, unreasonable price hikes and commodity shortages have only presented an impossible situation for an ordinary Zimbabwean who at present lives in fear of a worsening crisis.

Monthly contributions for medical aid have evaporated, pharmacies are demanding payment in United States dollars, even for a mere flu course.

How do patients suffering from cancer, high blood pressure, those on ARV treatment, to mention a few, survive?

In the mind of an ordinary Zimbabwean is the question; what if my landlord starts demanding rent in foreign currency?

It is a dilemma.

Citizens feel authorities who have conveyed the message that they should just ‘‘take the pain’’ have not much clue of the reality an ordinary family man is facing.

“When a man falls in love with a widow the first question he should ask her is what killed your previous husband. In the context of Zimbabwe, what killed the economy during Mugabe’s era and what’s killing it now?” twitted one Zimbabwean.

“How can this government gain trust and support if they are not addressing the people?”

Others lamented being young parents who cannot provide for their children, akin to what their parents went through during the 2008 crisis.

In sharing their experiences, they hinted that government policies have failed to address the plight of the people.

“In 2008 I was a dependent. 10 years later I am a father and the pain of coming home empty-handed is heartbreaking when my son runs to me. Makes me understand when my father broke down, cried before me, apologised for not providing in 2008,” twitted another citizen.

“Last night I didn’t buy 2 litres cooking oil that was going for $6 and this morning I am waking up to find the same commodity going for $10, are these the gains of Zimbabwe being open for business,” wrote Tafara Mashapa.

A professional woman employed in the government sector who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said yesterday she was shocked when she got to a gas outlet and was told the fuel was pegged at either US$1,30 per kilogramme or $6,50 in bond, EcoCash or swipe.

“I had no choice but to carry an empty gas tank back home. What else could I do? I am just a civil servant; I cannot afford the cost of living anymore,” she said sadly.

Those who were planning to pay lobala/roora (bride price) this month-end said their plans have  been shelved.

“The bond notes I have been saving for months have been eroded in just a few days. I cannot even afford the required grocery list I was given by my in-laws. It’s embarrassing to present a meaningless payment to your in-laws. On the other end, I don’t know, but they often have taught us that lobola should just be a token of appreciation that one pays to their in-laws for bearing him a wife,” said Tichaona Gwatirega of Budiriro.

“Families should just understand the phase we are going through, times are hard and it’s no secret. It should now be more about building family relations; the rest
shall follow when the situation normalises...”

Also affected are those that had formed burial societies, after a sigh of relief when the 2008 nightmare had passed.

“Government has stolen from us again; all the contributions we have been making are meaningless. If you pay $500 to a bereaved member at the moment, how much can they cover? Fuel is scarce, there is also rationing of commodities at the supermarkets. Prices have tripled in some instances. It’s just like we have not done anything in the past years of hard-earned savings,” said the chairperson of a burial society in the high density suburbs.

“How will we have confidence with our banking sector ever again?”

Churches have also suffered their share during the country’s economic crisis. Hit by the cash crisis, the EcoCash/One-wallet and swipe platforms have been adopted for offering of late.

In the current crisis, with suffering congregants, churches will not be spared the pain, said one pastor.

“Families and individuals make up the church. The living and working conditions of families and individuals greatly affect the church. If they are suffering, the church suffers more,” said Pastor Mairos Mubvumbi of Hope in Christ Ministries.

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