By Lloyd Takawira Features Writer
As the global pandemic, COVID 19 continues to affect the livelihoods of many ordinary Zimbos a cat and mouse situation has ensued between landlord’s and tenants over rentals.
At Machipisa TM supermarket, there is a long winding queue for mealie meal. People of all age groups are bracing the scorching sun for the scarce commodity. Among the multitudes is a sweating heavy sit lady who is loquacious among her friends.
A conversation ensued to which l became attentive. Like the famous Mbuya Mazvianga in my rural home, Buhera I opened my ears.
“My landlord is so inconsiderate, l tried to negotiate with my landlord but the old lady is something else, ” fumes the talkative Mai Devon.
The discussion awakened a debate long talked about. Like Mai Devon and her landlady their situation is reminiscent of many Zimbos’.
“My husband and I are traders at Mupedzanhamo. We are stuck at home because of Coronavirus. We pay our rentals in United States dollars. Our situation is delicate,” she continued.
As Mai Devon was narrating, an old frail looking lady interjected.
“Askana musanyeperana, ini ndiri landlord yangu rent ndotoida. Ndipo panomuraramo wangu, ukasandipa ndodyei,” says Gogo Tsopotsa.
The debate continues with one youngman in the line saying, “inini vanotoburitsa zvavo zvinhu zvangu just because hapana asirikuziva kuti coronavirus yaaffect mabasa emunhu,” said the energetic Ba Mako.
In sunglasses a smart looking gentleman argued, “I think there is need to strike a balance. Me as a landlord l should be considerate and say, Ok just give me half of the amount so that l also survive The tenant as well should try to meet halfway,” said Mr Tome.
With the Zimbabwean economy largely informal, business has come to a standstill putting the lives of most vulnerable communities at risk.
The elderly property owners rely on rentals to put food on the table but most tenants are informal traders whose stalls are being destroyed by councils.
Speaking to this reporter social commentator, Ellen Nyanzira said, “its a delicate situation for both landlords and tenants. On one end tenants are finding it difficult to pay rentals owing to the lockdown, while on the other end landlords mostly depend on rentals thus mwana atsva dumbu amai atsva musana situation. Government needs to intervene.”
She continued, “the situation on the ground is not good. People’s stalls are being destroyed that means even if the lockdown is relaxed those same people probably the tenants are in a continuous quandary.”