A Christmas to forget

HARARE - The year 2018 will remain etched in the back of many Zimbabweans for its poor and dull Christmas!

Shortages of basics which are traditional for any Christmas, things like soft drinks, beer, bread and cooking oil spoiled all the fun.

Chicken which used to be on every family’s meal card was just too expensive with a single live bird going for $15.

The few outlets that had soft drinks were selling at $2 while beer brands which used to cost a dollar were up to $3.

But more painful was the idea of spending Christmas in the city because one could not get fuel to travel. Even if you were to queue for five hours and get it, that full tank cannot take you home and back.

So, a lot of families were stuck in the city and it felt just not right when all the relatives living in the villages were expecting you to join them. And yes, bring some groceries that include all the basics that are hard to find in today’s Zimbabwe.

For others who use public transport, it was also a nightmare as motorists and even buses charged whatever fee came into their heads because they say they would have endured long hours queuing for fuel.

In all this what became reality was the fact that the bond or RTGs are not equivalent to the US$.

In Masvingo, friends there were complaining that service stations there were selling fuel in rands and US$ only and the queues were long, why? Because of the visitors coming from South African who had the rand. 

And it was also happening here in Bulawayo at selected service stations.

What about me, a Zimbo who is completely stuck with my bond or EcoCash?

Even Santa as a clown was not amused by this year’s Christmas!

So I was saying to myself, now that we closed the year in such disastrous fashion what will become of us next year, 2019?

Surely I do not see President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Cabinet pulling us out of this economic, social and political pit. It seems we still have some good five years in this dung and if not careful we can even be there for much longer.

The past 37 years we thought it was former President Robert Mugabe who was the stumbling block to our success as a nation but it is turning out that even with his absence we still are in shackles of poverty.

Poverty in Zimbabwe has hit serious levels and even those who are gainfully employed will tell you that they are in a mess.

Everything else has trebled in price because of the foreign exchange rate – those who earn $100 are actually earning $30 in real terms. The government has to be sensitive to the people’s plight because the longer they pretend that things are okay, the shorter their days in governance.

Zimbabweans will wake up one day and say enough is enough. At this rate there shall come a time when people will not be pushed any more.

We have seen it happening in other countries where leaders have pushed people’s patience to the limit and the results have been disastrous.

I am not sure when Mnangagwa goes for his annual holiday but Mugabe used to have his early in the year and he didn’t care if the country was okay or not, he would just go.

I hope Mnangagwa is not planning his holidays in the early year because he has a frightening task ahead of him in 2019.

He will have to deal with labour strikes. The doctors are already playing while teachers have warned of a crippling strike beginning of January.

And it is anyone’s guess who Mnangagwa doesn’t want to go on strike! 


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