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Civil servants say price hikes as frightening as Covid-19

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By Ndatenda Njanike


POLICE and members of the correctional services Wednesday swarmed a Pick n’ Pay supermarket in Harare’s Highlands suburb to buy some basic commodities soon after receiving their monthly salaries.

Despite the Covid-19 menace, most of them did not have any protective clothing.

In an interview, some of them said they had as much fear for the worsening economic hardship as they did with the world pandemic.

Newlands is the main shopping centre for police and prison officers residing in two adjacent camps a stone’s throw from the Harare CBD.

“My fear is not the virus as such but the price hike, something that has been a trend in the country as soon as civil servants are paid their monthly wages.

“Even if we fear the virus, we cannot sustain without food. So, today I had to take my chances and buy food for my family.

“If the virus is not going to kill us then hunger will kill us. So there is no sense in us not risking because we still need to buy food for our families,” said one member of the prison service who preferred to remain anonymous.

Other civil servants interviewed also feared their Zimbabwe dollar wages could be further weakened under current price increases experienced during a government imposed national lockdown against the spread of coronavirus.

Their fears are however not strange as many locals have also defied the Covid-19 scare to go and scramble for basic commodities with subsidised roller meal being the biggest product on demand.

Government imposed a 21-day national lockdown which ends this coming Sunday.

However, the economic vulnerabilities of many have seen them occasionally violate the measures to try and find food for their families.