No doctors at Christmas for crisis-hit Zimbabwe

Only expatriate doctors from countries such as Cuba are at work.

Last week the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) met President Emmerson Mnangagwa, demanding a 600% salary hike or to be paid in US dollars. If government failed to meet this demand, they promised to go on strike in the first week of January.

A failing economy has robbed ordinary Zimbabweans of a merry Christmas. Tradition in most households is pomp and fanfare, however, it won’t be the case this year. The local soft drink manufacturer Delta Beverages – which bottles Coca Cola, Fanta and Sprite – shut down its factories because of foreign currency shortages.

“The shortage of forex is well articulated, and is beyond the control of the company. In short we are unfortunately heading for a dry festive period. We can only apologise to our valued customers and consumers,” the company’s corporate affairs executive Patricia Murambinda said.

Instead of making their way to Christmas carol functions, fireworks displays and lights, many will spend their time in fuel queues.

“There’s not even a bonus to talk about. We were paid 100% of strictly the basic pay. All those years under Robert Mugabe it was a 100% of everything including allowances,” said teacher Bongani Moyo.

By his own admission, Mnangagwa said it would be a gloomy Christmas for many.

“I am aware that many will have a difficult Christmas. I encourage all of us to be patient, resilient and to work harder in collective unity, as we create a better, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe for all,” he said in a statement.

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