By Tenacity Reporter
Bulawayo residents did heed the national call to stay at home to evade contracting the deadly Covid 19, but they did so under ‘protest’.
Not that they did not care about their health or livelihoods but because their thin pockets could not just stock enough to last the distance.
The pain is unexplainable,especially to the elderly who have to endure hours hungry after skipping some meals.
The little mealie meal,sugar as well as ‘chunks’ has run out just a week into the lockdown. That is just what many people could afford to buy since many are unemployed,vendors,public transport workers among other low ‘income’ earners who hugely live from hand to mouth.
The pensioners are hard hit as their eroded income cannot compete with skyrocketing prices. Khulu Dube who had sneaked out from home to Entumbane Shopping Centre (Complex) where scores of people were queuing to have a chance to buy a few commodities bemoaned lack of a plan by government for the starving population to survive during the lockdown.
“I am a pensioner,the things i bought last week are finished just like the money I had.My son sent me money through the phone to hunt for mealie meal.He sent $75 and at Zothile shops mealie meal was going for $90, so I am now trying to get into OK and by samp or rice as long as it is starch.The queue is not making matters any better” said the visibly drained Khulu.
His views were emphatically echoed by a gogo Mbuyisa from Emakhanden suburb “akula kudla ezindlini. kuhlalwa njani endlini kungela kudla? The kids will are crying and they are looking to me but I have little to offer. I had my vending stall at Mawunga closed, now I have nowhere to get supplies.My daughters are locked down in South Africa,so are omalayitsha. They cannot send anything as they used to do.When the borders open,they wont have enough still because their workplaces(Restaurants) wont open soon”
The story of the two is the story of millions countrywide.They ponder of where the next meal will come from in distress, cause of their shoe string budgets, if ever they have a budget at all, cannot take them the distance.
The situation leads to the flouting of the lockdown regulations as search for basic needs is a pushing factor. Some households have also run out of water with reports that such places as Magwegwe and Emganwini might go for eight months without the precious liquid.
This publication went further and patiently waited in the queue to get into OK Zimbabwe Entumbane,without social distancing where the crew was met by large cries from shoppers about the prices that have hit rooftop. The people have surely been thrown into further delusion after most commodities had prices going up by over 100% versus a stagnant income, for those who have an income. Most shoppers who had endured an over 30 minutes queue, picked a few items,some turned away from the tills while many walked out disappointed that their monies could not buy anything.
Some households are said to have received varying amounts for ‘mealie meal’ from mobile telecommunications company Netone. Government is also said to have availed $600 million to cater for the elderly as well as compensate for loss of income by small businesses and vendors. This is said to be an answer to lack of food stuffs for many households. The amount is set to be disbursed in the next two weeks.Ironically, at that time the lockdown will be coming to an end.The ‘cry’ of the stomach is now!