YESTERDAY, Christmas Eve, was reminiscent of the 2008 version when thousands of citizens woke up in the early hours of the morning to join long meandering queues to access their trillion Zimbabwe dollars stuck in banks. By the end of day on that 2008 Christmas Eve, citizens across the country left banking halls dejected after only a few had managed to withdraw bundles of dollars that were not even enough to board a commuter omnibus back home as the Zimbabwe dollar made its last frantic kicks before it succumbed to marauding hyperinflation in the new year.
And yesterday, as the sun set thousands of citizens left banking halls empty handed and headed back home for a gloomy Christmas after failing to access just $100 of the resuscitated Zimbabwe dollar in a cruel repeat of the 2008 ordeal. Also queuing elsewhere were other citizens waiting for fuel supplies at service stations that have been perpetually dry for months. This was despite Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube having promised the nation a Christmas box full of enough fuel and food.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure that there is more fuel. You know we import the product so we will be allocating as much foreign currency as we can through the lines of credit. Of course, the queues are long, but you know what is happening with the queues as well. Everyone gets afraid and then they queue even if they don’t have to, to make sure that their three or two cars have fuel so there is a sharp increase in demand for fuel,” so said Ncube.
But today, many will be celebrating Christmas on empty tanks and stomachs simply because Ncube delivered an empty Christmas box to the nation. There was no fuel in the box, serve at some isolated service stations. Neither was there the promised food, in whatever form he had envisaged to deliver it to more than seven million people staring hunger in the face.
It is also quite unsettling to note that the Finance minister is convinced that people park in fuel queues for the kicks. The minister also believes that everyone in this country has more than one car, which has given rise to the prevailing fuel crisis. Ncube’s attitude clearly shows that his life is worlds apart from that of the majority of Zimbabwean who barely managing to keep their noses above the water. It is now evident that he has never parked his car in a fuel queue, even for just five minutes. Neither has he ever experienced what it is like to sleep on an empty stomach, because if he ever did he would not even have made the empty promises to a hungry and immobile people who are fast forgetting what Christmas entailed. The same applies to his principal, President Emmerson Mnangagwa who keeps rambling on about the good times ahead despite evidence to the contrary.