By Thandiwe Garusa
FOR Floyd Mutamangira of Mufakose in Harare, he will spend this year’s Christmas Day away from family home to avoid the sad sight of his minor children he could not buy special food or spoil with gifts and new clothes to celebrate the day.
“To me, I cannot even say there is Christmas, because I will be loitering in the streets,” Mutamangira told NewZimbabwe.com.
“I can’t spend the whole day at home as I don’t have anything to give my children. This is difficult, if I could only get mealie-meal then I will have somewhere to start. So to say there is Christmas for me, I would be lying.”
Mutamangira added; “I can’t even express how this is going to be one of the most difficult Christmas Days I have ever experienced in my life. This year, it is just a name only, I can not even buy my parents a 2kg packet of sugar, things are tough.”
What Mutangira is going through is a reflection of the many challenges that hard-pressed Zimbabweans are going through and won’t be able to celebrate the Festive Season with their loved ones.
This year’s Christmas holiday could go down as one of the worst in decades as ordinary Zimbabweans fail to observe the long held tradition of spoiling their loved ones with goodies associated with the celebrations.
With only a day to go to Christmas Day, the mood in Harare does not suggest any festivity as locals are engaged in their daily struggles of sourcing for scarce commodities while also experiencing power and water cuts, failure to access cash from the banks and the ever so present fears of running into yet another drought period next year.
Despite the crises having been there for months now, Zimbabweans are still to get used to sleeping outside banking halls to withdraw some cash the next morning. Motorists also spend most of their time waiting in winding fuel queues for the precious liquid.
The energy crisis has been worsened by government’s failure to secure foreign currency to pay fuel importers.
Prices of basic commodities also continue to rise while public transporters are taking advantage of the hectic period to hike transport charges, making travelling a nightmare for most people.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com ahead of Christmas Day, some Harare residents expressed displeasure at the state of the economy and how government seemed to be turning a blind eye to their suffering.
“I don’t even have money to travel to my rural home and celebrate Christmas with close family members. I cannot even buy new clothes for my kids. On Christmas, I will be here in the streets selling airtime because my family has nothing to celebrate,” said an airtime vendor, who only identified himself as Madzibaba Luke in central Harare.
For Mike Mandendera, the day will also just be like any other ordinary one.
“There is nothing like Christmas; it is just going to be another day to spend at home. We will never have the same celebrations that we used to have in the past. This is just going to be a day to rest,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said in a statement this past week that 2019 was tough for ordinary workers.
“It has been a difficult year for Zimbabweans. It has been one of the difficult years for the workers,” said Japhet Moyo, the ZCTU secretary-general.