A sombre economic atmosphere has made Zimbabwe a subdued nation. There is no celebratory mood to embrace the coming of Christmas. December used to be characterised by public gatherings and public entertainment. “Bonus” was a buzzword that used to excite many. In the current economic environment, it has since become a nostalgic word.
It appears cash-strapped Zimbabweans may have to kick off preparations for critical New Year expenses like school fees much earlier, at the expense of impending festivities. In the face of the big shifts in buying cultures, retailers have had to adjust strategies to stay in the game. But with profit margins dropping, these may not be working.
Retailers are struggling to keep the tills ringing, given the gloomy outlook. This is why they have stopped their old Christmas tricks to trap jolly shoppers; the fake mistletoes are not present this time around, no bright lights in the shops, no extended shopping hours and no relaxed credit terms that drove people to the shops in the decade prior to crisis.
While bond coins come into the market today, many Zimbabweans are still confused. What are their purpose considering that rand coins are now ubiquitous on the market? Will bond coins not distort already highly priced goods and services? Who stands to benefit from the introduction of these bond coins? Is the Zimbabwe dollar making a gradual return? Even the coins seem not to bring cheer to a country desperate for hope.
ZESA has promised uninterupted power throughout the festive season. However, it had been reported that the power utility intends to take advantage of the annual shutdown in order to service its ailing power stations in Kariba and Hwange. Citizens are the ones who will be hardest hit by loss of power. They will have to make do with either candles or generators to keep the lights on during the festive season.
Even though the Zimbabwe National Road Administration has made efforts to patch up the country’s broken roads, which have since become death traps, road carnage remains one of the biggest killers in Zimbabwe. December is traditionally seen as a season for care-free drinking but it is important for Zimbabweans to drink responsibly to reduce unnecessary fatalities. No matter the situation we find ourselves in, there is still more to celebrate than mourn. We can only hope and wish for 2015 to be a productive year.