Throughout historical annals, January and December occupy a unique and famous status in the hearts of global citizens. Being first and last in a year, the months are well known for their joy, hope and excitement. Indeed, these months experience a hive of activities as either a way of starting or wrapping up a 365 day journey.
Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans, the country and the people, groan in agony as they eagerly anticipated merriment this festive season. Slowly but surely, Christmas and New Year approached, the unfortunate part being that these supposedly happy days came to a cheated, tired, desperate, robbed, abused, oppressed and repressed people. To some, Christmas is the birthday of the Son of Man and many would love to “celebrate it in an honourable fashion.” Unfortunately, this one escaped crowds. It was beyond their reach.
Given the flow or lack thereof of money in the Zimbabwean economy and society, it is clear that bond notes have, since their questionable introduction, failed to suffice. With the Zimbabwean economy deeply engrossed in a financial crisis of such magnitude whose clear manifestations are undying bank queues, high and fictitious exchange rates, high EcoCash charges, painful transaction charges (2% tax) and high prices, the jubilance usually associated with this period was only but history.
Those of our generation who never really witnessed the “bright” days hide in history as we only feed on “once upon a time” stories narrated by our elders.
Though the month is notorious for its travels to and from the rural areas or resort towns, December 2018 was one of a kind. Many failed to travel, not out of will but because of circumstances. In rural areas, there was deafening silence at growth points, themselves past benchmarks of an entertaining Christmas and a happy New Year. Yes, there was piercing silence from Mubaira to Mupandawana, Murambinda, Rushinga, Marange and other places.
The reality of buying a 2kg packet of sugar, rice or anything else was burdensome to many. The norm of pleasing parents, children or friends during this season of the year was a heavy load to balance; the political tape root of which is embedded in the incapability of the “illegitimate” government of the day whose ineptitude is beyond doubt.
Many lost their purchasing powers. Parents/guardians are struggling to raise school fees with some resorting to making partial payments. The same parents/guardians are confronted not only with the horror of paying rentals but also ensuring that they travel to and from work daily. Children are sleeping on empty stomach while some are subsisting on less than $1 a day. This is an insult to humanity especially so in the face of the increased cost of living.
Despite celebrating the New Year, the prevailing circumstances drain all hope and imprison the citizen’s expectations. Considering these sad realities, it is beyond doubt that this is indeed a dry season.
Zimbabwe’s economic revival is a test the only ZANU PF led government is bound to fail even if it is allowed to rely on its rigging machinery. Unlike the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the economy is not gullible. It needs men of both words and action. It requires able leadership with a sound, clear and realistic short and long term vision. It calls for a new governance culture whose economic and political players inspire confidence and trust.
Sadly, though the period between late December and early January is notorious for its joys, this one is among those in names and never in character. The jovial mood have since hibernated, the joy have been stolen, hopes taken captive and future prospects imprisoned.
Reluctance to political reform and planning is rife. There is barrenness in economic and political developmental ideas. A deficiency in political will to admit failure and seek change is noticeable. Nothing at all shall be offered. It is game on.
It is a dry season, one so economically hot yet devoid of adequate political waters to quench the thirst, only few drops present.
Zimbabweans’ Gross National Happiness is very low. Their Misery Index is unjustifiably high. For this reason, this is the coming of a dry season.
Like any other season, this one shall surely pass.
Since the struggle is our lives, it continues!!!