by Violet Dukwende
Dejection, desperation, confusion and rage are the order of the day. Yesterday, the USD was trading at 1:400 against the bond note in the morning but by the end of the day the rate was ranging between 1:450 and 1:500. Those with access to the USD were settling city council and electricity bills. With only USD150, a certain lady almost cleared her bill of $1000.She now owes $250 and with less than 30USD tomorrow, she will do so.
Most of the restaurants and supermarkets have closed for “stock-taking” and “renovations “or are engaging in “team –building exercises” until further notice. The few businesses that are still operating have few vital commodities on the shelves. As if to add insult to the struggling Zimbabweans, luxury items such as 100% fruit juice and crisps- that they have never been able to afford- are now on sale at triple the normal price.
All hopes and dreams that were raised with the “dawn of a new Zimbabwe” in November 2017 have been dashed. The ordinary citizen that marched for a “new Zimbabwe” has to bear the brunt of the harsh reforms enforced by the current regime. Forget dignity; Zimbabweans have to queue for 4kg of sugar per person. There is speculation that cooking oil will be available today in one of the few shops that are still open. Already people are queuing in anticipation of a commodity whose availability has not been confirmed.
The life span of the population has been drastically reduced by the shortage of drugs for life-threatening diseases. Medical aid cover cannot even guarantee access to medical aid society members so pharmacies have closed shop or started demanding payment in USD from the individuals who need the medication. Tenoric, a drug which manages hypertension has been off the shelves for over 3 months and some have had to experiment and take just any blood pressure medication with hopes of stabilising their blood pressure.
At this rate, rentals will soon be paid in USD. Pity the tenant who is faithfully employed and receives their salary in bond notes after 30days. Public transport fares have gone up and we are not even half-way through the month. Salaries have not been adjusted to meet the alarming rates of inflation. For car owners, a lot of fuel is wasted by touring fuel stations in search for fuel.
Note, however that those who receive salaries in USD or have access to them in other ways are not complaining. Fuel and other commodities are availed to them, if they have not hoarded them already. Some have 6months to a year’s supply of food. Ditto fuel and other basics to enable them to maintain their luxurious lives while the ordinary Zimbabwean further languishes and wallows in a dismal abyss of despair.