By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Tuesday made a surprise visit to Harare’s high density suburbs of Highfield, Budiriro and Glen View “to get first hand appreciation of the situation” obtaining among the country’s poor.
Chamisa brought business to a standstill after walking into supermarkets and assessing the prices of basic commodities.
The opposition chief met residents, vendors and traders who all poured their hearts out about the economic hardships they were facing on a daily basis.
Some of the residents pleaded with Chamisa to “please do something to arrest the situation”.
They told him about their struggles to get portable water, electricity, amid a 15 hour load-shedding schedule by State power utility Zesa and general poverty in their neighbourhoods.
Others told Chamisa they work hard to put food on the table but their buying power has been eroded by run-away inflation and parallel market rates in the past few months.
Vendors said business has become all time low as their customers have scaled down on buying products because of affordability challenges.
Chamisa also visited local supermarkets in the high density areas to check if prices of basic commodities were going down as reported in some sections of the media.
Security manning shops had a torrid time trying to control the crowds that followed the popular politician.
“Please do something president, zvinhu zvaoma, (life is hard), we just hear that things are now better, but where?” Munashe Muzamhindo asked Chamisa.
With most residents having resorted to using firewood and used plastics to prepare meals, Gogo Karibwi said: “I can’t afford to buy firewood every day to cook, as load shedding has reached unprecedented levels.”
Chamisa also spent time with residents who were fetching water from the boreholes who told him they frequently fought over water in the area.
“Fighting is the order of the day here as people scramble to get water day and night,” said Melisa Karisa.
Chamisa told the residents, vendors and traders he was in the area to get first hand information on the current situation and get their views on how the situation can best be addressed.