THE Christmas festival is here. The Christian fraternity is in a festive mood. December 25 was the day Jesus Christ was born in a town called Nazareth about 2,000 years ago.
Preparations for this big day included purchases of new clothing -- mainly for children and decorative trinkets that include lights, toys, greetings cards, special Christmas trees and Christmas song CDs to colour the festivities.
Some houses got a new coat of paint. Unfortunately, greedy business people have hiked the prices of everything that goes with Chrismas, including the prices of goats, sheep, chicken and ducks.
Reports that bus fares for passengers travelling from Dar es Salaam to Moshi for Christmas and New Year celebrations reached 50,000/- are disgusting, to say the least. According to a survey by the 'Daily News' at Ubungo bus terminal and other parts of the Dar es Salaam city, passengers are forced to cough up to 50,000/- for a single trip.
The amount is twice the amount which is supposed to be paid for a single trip. This shows the greed some bus owners and traders assume at this time of the year. There are reports that a kilo of rice sells at between 3,000/- and 2,800/-, while a kilo of meat sells at between 7,000/- and 8,000/- in some parts of Dar es Salaam.
This has inconvenienced some merry makers greatly. Further experience shows that most people overspend during Christmas and plunge into a long spell of virtual poverty during January.
It would be remiss not to point out here that road accidents increase sharply during the festive season because of drunken driving or even dare-devil use of roads and streets. Suddenly, overdrinking becomes fashionable and the result is careless driving, drunken brawls and fist-fights.
The Police Force should strengthen its patrols on roads and streets and at festival sights such as beaches, dance halls, bars and restaurants. Religious leaders should rail against unruly behaviour and call for respect for the cannons of the Church during the festival. We wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.