‘January disease’- the real struggle

By Audrey Rundofa and Joyce Mukucha

January is the hardest month of the year when the people have burdens of paying school fees, rentals and buying of children’s uniforms since it is the ‘ back to school month’. The time of the year is termed “January disease”.

According to the survey done by Spiked Online Media, life is not flowing smoothly for the people in the city. Prices of goods and commodities are skyrocketing especially school uniforms and texts books.

Other vendors and residents in Harare said they were optimistic about tomorrow as they have still hope that when January comes to an end things might change and business would come back to normal again.

“I’m selling textbooks on the street but my sales haven’t gone up. I expected high sales since its back to school but nothing has changed. This shows that we are in an economic strained country. Although things are hard now we are hoping that as time moves will have more customers coming to buy our products,” Justice Murwira said.

The hardest month, ‘January disease’ is also being witnessed in the shops and boutiques. Shop sellers are saying that although it is back to school, things like uniforms and bags for children are not being bought, business is not flowing well for them. Some shops are even labelled “January Disease sale all bets 0.50 cents”.

Cash shortages in banks are causing more suffering to the people. People are struggling to raise bus fares to use when going to work.

Norman Chidi appealed to the government to instruct school heads not to chase away children because most parents are finding it hard to raise the school fees since the economy is not performing well.

“Most of the schools in rural areas do not accept credit cards for fees payments but we are not getting any cash from the banks. We are now stranded because we don’t know what to do anymore.

“I have a kid enrolling for grade one and I am facing challenges in as far as places is concerned since most schools demanded full payment of fees and complete uniforms were to be bought from the school. All children are required to bring all the necessary books on opening day,” Chidi said.

Mary Meya said people complaining about ‘January disease’ were aware that the month was coming and they should have prepared for it long back.

Professor Paul Mavima, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education advised schools not to chase away children without fees. He urged them to engage parents and make payment plans since the economy of the country is not yet stable and things are hard for everyone in the country but still, everyone has a right to education.