By Tichaona Chifamba HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua)
-- Shortages of some basic commodities
have marred the festive season in Zimbabwe, with many unable to
get traditionally expected items such as soft drinks, beer and
bread in the shops.
Many shops were
rationing the items wherever they were available, and a black
market for fuel has begun to thrive.
To beat the
rationing, many people are bringing along colleagues to stand in
different queues so that they can get as much of their preferred
commodities as possible.
At Marimba shops, a
man was seen getting into a shop several times to buy beer,
which was limited to a pack of six per customer.
“The trick is to get
back into the shop and use a different till operator who does
not know that you have already bought the same commodity in the
same shop. As long as the queues remain short I will go in as
many times as I can,” he told Xinhua.
Some shoppers are
now bringing along their children to beat the rationing so that
each child can get an allotted share of the goods.
Many people have
also opted not to travel to rural areas for the festive season
because of fuel shortages.
With long queues at
many filling stations, some motorists have decided not to risk
travelling long distances without the guarantee that they will
be able to fill up their vehicles on the way back.
“I can’t spend the
whole festive season in fuel queues and there is no way I will
travel to the village in Masvingo when I don’t know whether I
will be able to get fuel for the return journey,” said John
Hungwe of Harare.
It appears that many
will have to part with the tradition of traveling to rural areas
to spend time with parents and other loved ones during the
“Yesterday I... sent
my parents some money and the little goodies I could get them
for Christmas,” Hungwe said. “This year it’s very different,
with people struggling to either get enough money or, if the
money is available, to get the required goods.”
The government said
it had instituted random checks on fuel stations across the
country to curb hoarding.
newspaper, in its editions Monday, quoted Energy and Power
Development Minister Joram Gumbo as saying that police and
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority officials have been
deployed across the country and that traders and stations found
withholding fuel or selling it on the black market risk losing
Gumbo said the
government has learned that some service stations were
withholding fuel and selling it on the black market and to
“We are suspecting
that some of the fuel shortages might be political,” he said.
“What we have noticed is that pirate taxis and public transport
operators are also hoarding and stocking fuel.
“The spike in demand
could have also been triggered by the festive season,” he said.
Petrol, which costs
an average 1.40 U.S. dollars per liter at filling stations, is
being sold at 30 dollars per five liters on the black market.
Striking Zimbabwe junior
doctors defy court order, stay away from work
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Striking junior doctors in Zimbabwe on Monday
continued to defy a court order Saturday declaring their
three-week industrial action illegal.
One source at the
country’s biggest referral center, Parirenyatwa Group of
Hospitals, told Xinhua that the situation remained dire as the
doctors refused to report for work.
Labor Court judge
Betty Chidziva ruled in favour of the Health Services Board (HSB)
which had sought to have the strike declared illegal and said
that doctors offer essential service, which bars them from
engaging in collective job action.
The HSB on Sunday
warned the doctors that they would face disciplinary action for
failing to take heed of the court order upon the expiry of the
deadline of 9 a.m. Sunday given to them to return to work.
On their part, the
doctors have accused the HSB of acting in bad faith for taking
the issue to the Labor Court in the middle of negotiations after
the cabinet last week assigned Vice President Constantino
Chiwenga to oversee the process.
The doctors went on
strike on Dec. 1, citing challenges such as unsatisfactory
working conditions, low salaries and lack of basic medicines and
The Herald reported
on Monday that HSB vice chairperson Auxilia Chideme-Munodawafa
had said all the striking health workers had chosen to ignore
the court order, causing the HSB to institute disciplinary
action against them.
“Most or all of the
health workers who had withdrawn their labor have not reported
for work in the timeframe stipulated in the disposal order made
by the Labor Court,” she said.
accordingly proceeding to institute disciplinary action against
all health workers who participated in the unlawful collective
job action,” she said.
Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) responded by accusing the
HSB of acting in bad faith after they were given an impression
by the Ministry of Health and Child Care that negotiations were
The association said
it had hoped that, following a cabinet decision on Wednesday
that Chiwenga would now provide oversight on the negotiations,
the strike action should have ended by Sunday.
The “HSB has negated
and reversed all the progress thus made to terminate the
industrial action,” read a ZHDA statement.
president urges nation to persevere
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on
Monday that 2018 was a historic year for the country as it
marked the start of a process of national renewal and recovery.
In his Christmas
message to the nation, the president acknowledged that many will
have a difficult Christmas due to economic difficulties but
urged the nation to remain resilient and hopeful for a better
“There is so much
more to be done and there will be further bumps along the road.
I am aware that many will have a difficult Christmas. I
encourage all of us to be patient, resilient and to work hard in
a collective unity, as we create a better, democratic and
prosperous Zimbabwe for all,” he said.
The president also
appreciated the role played by volunteers in helping the needy
and less privileged in society.
“I would like to
encourage all our brothers and sisters who volunteer their time
and energies to help those in need and less fortunate than
ourselves. This spirit of volunteerism is a true blessing and
should be celebrated by us all.
“As we celebrate
Christmas, let us remember to ‘Love our neighbor as ourselves’
and to ‘do to others what we want them to do to us,’” he said.
Villagers in panic as
5.5-magnitude quake hits Zimbabwe-Mozambique border
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
A 5.5-magnitude earthquake rattled eastern
Zimbabwe and neighboring Mozambique on Saturday morning, leaving
villagers in panic.
According to China
Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), the earthquake occurred at
07:37 local time (GMT+2).
The epicenter was
near the border of Zimbabwe with Mozambique, 200 km from capital
Harare, or 50 km from Zimbabwe’s southeastern town of Chipinge,
With tremors felt as
far as Mutare, Masvingo and Harare, the earthquake has left
villagers scared and in panic as less strong rural buildings
were destroyed, state media Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation
The tremors affected
at least 40 homesteads, destroying less strong buildings and
granaries, and leaving cracks on some houses in the Beacon area
of Chipinge, which is less than 2 km from the border with
Mozambique, a witness told ZBC.
Service Department of Zimbabwe spokesperson Rich Zinyemba said
they are still investigating the effects of the earthquake.
is a seismically active region as evidenced by many moderate to
large earthquakes occurring every year.
Zinyemba said most
earthquakes that occur in the region are due to natural plate
tectonics and this is attributed to the East African rift system
which extends to Mozambique.