ZIMBABWEANS are supposed to join the world in celebrating Christmas in a few days, but the mood remains sombre in the country with nothing to show that it is time to be merry.

With only three days to Christmas, workers, who spoke to NewsDay Weekender yesterday, said there was nothing to celebrate this festive season as the future remained bleak.

Several companies are failing to pay workers and to those who can, local banks are not able to avail cash, hence meandering queues being the order of the day around the country.

A survey by NewsDay Weekender last week showed desperation among Zimbabweans who queued for cash, fuel and struggled to plan for the holidays amid speculation that schools were planning to raise fees.

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The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said 2019 had been a tough year for the workers and there was no joy this festive season.

“It has been a difficult year for Zimbabweans. It has been one of the difficult years for workers.
We are not sure if the majority will be able to enjoy their festive season. We are not sure if the majority of workers will be able to visit their loved ones. We are not sure the majority of workers will be able to pay school fees for their children come January,” ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said.

“The majority of people have not been able to access their money from banks and are resorting to buying money through EcoCash. It is really tough,” he said.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Marvellous Khumalo said there was nothing in the country and this was a desperate situation for Zimbabweans.

“There is nothing in the country, but unfortunately we are lacking leadership. The leadership is focusing on wrong things despite a myriad of challenges we have. In the current crisis, instead of leaders focusing on how to give a good festive season by addressing economic challenges, we are witnessing sideshows,” he said.

“As we go into this festive season, prices of basic commodities have sky-rocketed. Early next year, we will be talking of school fees when children will be expected to go back to school.”

The crisis in Zimbabwe has reached boiling point and people are set for a Christmas without basics, water, fuel and cash among other necessities, making it one of the worst ever for the country.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailer’s Association president Denford Mutashu said although the last days have been slow, the situation seemed to have improved yesterday as more people did their shopping.

“Business has started picking up and this has been the trend even in the past two years.
Business picks up even a few days before the actual Christmas itself and there has been some movement as compared to the previous days. Most consumers are doing their last-minute shopping and the basket composition has improved from basics,” he said.