The month of December is a divinely blessed one. Apart from being a month with that most cherished day, the day when Jesus Christ was born it marks the end of the year.
This month comes with many exciting moments especially to those who believe and celebrate Christmas. Apart from that it’s the time when people look back and celebrate the year’s achievements and set new targets for the coming year.
Different groups of people are impacted differently by this month or the events in this month.
For the Church ministers in the different Christian denominations their energies are focused at laying strategies of how to stage the most powerful prayer conference to have as many people turn to Christ as possible.
On the other hand, media companies are scratching their heads to put together year enders and Christmas exclusives for their clients.
The few years I have soberly celebrated the festive days of December, I have witnessed a lot of pomp and untold feasting, but also realised one sure thing...these celebrations are grossly commercialised. It’s a season of buying and selling.
In the previous years I have been here, by this time of the month things would be hastening and heating up, grocery shops would be filled to capacity, people would be storming merchandise stores for timely shopping of items to consume during the period.
But this time around things are slightly different; when you move around the commercial streets of Kigali and other places you notice a streak of uncertainty on the faces of many businessmen and women.
Michael Ayabagabo is a cloths and shoe seller in Kigali. He narrates that in the past years during this time he could not sit for the whole day because customers would be storming his shop non stop. He is bewildered that very few are coming and most of them are not buying.
“By this time things would be hot but here we are’ seated and waiting for buyers who are not turning up. Things have really not gone well this season,” he remarked
He went ahead and lamented that he had stocked many products just like he does every end of year but he is afraid he might incur losses this time round.
“I don’t know whether it’s the economic crisis that is still biting hard in our businesses but things are really bad. Am now just waiting for the last three days to Christmas.”
The melancholic air in the business circles seems to be cross-cutting. When I went to the phone dealers who have also always reaped big from this month, Gordance Mukamana who boasts of close to four years in the phone selling business says she has never seen a December like this one.
“This December is like other months, we are selling just like it has always been, it’s really disturbing but we have nothing to do” she exclaimed
However there are those other businesses that kick off just a few days to Christmas, these include food stuffs, meat sellers, decorations, and transport companies. These might pick up but still the general response from consumers is a cold one.
Though this is how things are in the merchandise business, the transport business especially heavy duty trailers that travel long distances are experiencing a slightly different response.
A trailer driver only identified as Damascene in Magerwa noted that trailers coming to Rwanda are busy nowadays because producers especially from Kenya are trying to empty their stores such that they restock for next year, this situation has made these vehicles busy.
However the only challenge they are facing is that there is virtually nothing they transport to be exported to other countries, so they burn their fuel to those other East African countries where they get products for the Rwandan market.