The Sunday News
THE country has been in a celebratory mood since the advent of the just ended Operation Restore Legacy launched last month by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces that ushered in a new political dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
While people were still celebrating the coming in of the new political dispensation, then a few weeks down the line find themselves having to contend with the traditional excitement that comes with the festive season.
With Zimbabweans locked in such double celebrations, it looks like there are spoilers out there in the form of the business community, which in its wisdom or honestly lack of it have decided to conspire and spoil the party.
The business community have wantonly and unjustifiably increased the prices of all basic commodities much to the shock and disappointment of many.
And what is more discomforting is that the price frenzy comes with no basis.
There is absolutely no justification to the price increases by retailers, suppliers and manufactures.
There are no market forces at play to point to the increase as people continue struggling with stubbornly low salaries while the price of fuel has not gone up.
In the absence of market forces of demand and supply one will not be far from the truth to submit that the business community is just being unscrupulous and retrogressive.
And the question that progressive Zimbabweans beg an answer for is whether we are sharing a common vision that is being pursued by the country’s political leadership in furthering the interest of everyone and developing the nation.
It is therefore surprising as much as it is logic defying that just as the country is in a merry making mood, the business community decides to dampen the mood and muddy the celebrations by trying to give the country a difficult, almost painful festive season.
We urge the business community to urgently consider reducing the reckless price hikes of all basic goods as any defiance to the call by the President will be read to mean they are anti-establishment and anti-people.
The Government has been putting in place a raft of measures and policies such as the Statutory Instrument 64 (SI 64) to protect industry from an influx of cheap imports by limiting quantities and disallowing other goods to be imported but the business community just didn’t know how to return the favour.
They were supposed to simply adhere to ethical business practices.
It is all too clear that the business community is still behind time and demanding them to shape up in the interest of economic development will not be too much.
The Government should refuse to kowtow to business community’s desire to perpetuate the people’s suffering and attempt to rewind the clock back to the days of reactionary business practices that promote profiteering while removing the bridge between the poor and the rich.
While it is encouraging that we now have a new Government that is responsive to the wishes of its people and that has promised to knit together the pieces of the economy, what the business community has done by increasing prices is just an affront to the spirited efforts of turning around the economy.
We therefore, here and now remind the business community of an African proverb that says those who gather ant-infested maggots should be prepared for the visits of the lizards.
They should not be surprised and should not cry foul when the Government pulls off the stops it had put to boost industry and protect manufacturers from falling under the weight of imports.
The business community has set a very bad precedence to the new political dispensation — a precedence that can be interpreted to mean they are working hand in glove with agents of anti-establishment.
We hope they will engage with Government sooner than later, for what we do not want to see is a situation where the country’s political leadership is pulling in one direction while the business community is pulling in another.