Opinion

Ho Ho Ho, It’s Christmas Time Again!

The story behind Santa Claus or Father Christmas has intrigued many kids across the globe. Father Christmas has become the icon of generosity during the festive season. In developed economies, the retail sector can record and assess the performance of sales made during the festive season.

The commercialisation of the Christmas holiday has been a subject of intense interest. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s retail sector finds itself in an unenviable position. Pricing has become a thorn in the flesh for them and consumers are feeling the heat.

Annus horribilis! The curtain comes down on 2019 in less than a fortnight and what a turbulent year it was. The year saw the country experiencing one of its worst droughts in living memory, a devastating cyclone left many dead, and clashes between hard-pressed citizens and authorities left dozens lifeless, according to rights groups.

For many, living in Zimbabwe has become more like camping – running water is a luxury and firewood is used to prepare meals. No wonder, domestic tourism this year is expected to take a knock due to fuel shortages and general price increases. In short not many are looking forward to Santa Claus’ Ho Ho Ho signature laugh!

While consumers have expressed despair on the country’s economic outlook, many companies are going on their annual shut down more pessimistic about the future. Why? This year, companies and households have experienced power cuts that have lasted, and still last, for 18 hours daily due to low generation capacity at the Kariba Dam because of a low water level and aging equipment at Hwange Power Station.

The perennial foreign currency crisis worsened during the course of the year as shown by the movement of the rates on the interbank and parallel markets. From 1:2.5 to the dollar on the interbank market, the rate has quickened to 1:16.5 after the government outlawed the multicurrency regime in June and restored the Zimbabwean dollar as the sole legal tender.

The Zimbabwean dollar was ditched in 2009 in favour of a multi-currency system dominated by the US dollar. In 2015, Mangudya demonetised the local unit. That the economy has returned to the hyperinflationary era has been evident from the rising prices. The Ministry of Finance would raise further dust after suspending annual inflation in June until February next year.

As Zimbabwe’s political actors open negotiations for a fresh round of talks to end the political impasse that has had ramifications on the social and political spheres, it is our hope that these talks will begin in earnest and also that national interest supersedes party interests. Zimbabwe cannot continue to be a case study of political intolerance.

2020 should usher in hope, not despair. We will be watching and reporting the story of Zimbabwe objectively. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers and advertisers for their continued support, after such a difficult and hectic year. We also acknowledge our competitors for keeping us on our toes.

We will be back soon. Happy holidays folks!

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