The Zimbabwean government has reportedly dismissed claims by the opposition that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa holds the keys to the current economic problems affecting the country.
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted the country's deputy chief secretary to the president and cabinet, George Charamba, as saying that Chamisa was not a "Messiah" or the answer to the country's economic challenges.
"I pity Chamisa because he is being invested with Messianic powers which he doesn't wield.
"... He is a mere man and an erring man like all mortals. The economy of this country will be turned around by the hands of the citizens of this nation," Charamba was quoted as saying.
Charamba's remarks came as NewsDay cited Chamisa as saying that he had solutions to the country's deepening economic crisis.
The southern African country has been grappling with "panic buying", as locals feared the return of the 2008 commodity shortages that left many shops without basic goods.
Poor salaries, high unemployment
A New Zimbabwe.com report said over the weekend that shoppers were stocking up on essential goods such as beef, bread, cooking oil, and other essentials in anticipation of a looming disaster.
In recent weeks, the country has also been running out of essential medical drugs and supplies of fuel have dwindled because importers were unable to secure foreign currency to replenish stocks, the report said.
Last week the privately-owned Financial Gazette reported that prices of basic goods such as mealie-meal, meat, soap, toiletries, rice, sugar and vegetables were spiralling out of control due to a currency crisis precipitated by foreign currency shortages.
The report said that the price increases were set to "worsen consumers' situation because disposable incomes have always been under pressure due to a combination of poor salaries, high unemployment and the fact that Zimbabwe is a high cost producer".
But according to NewsDay, Chamisa was quoted as saying that he had solutions to the economic crisis.
"He (Chamisa) said Zanu-PF can rig the elections, but it cannot rig the economy," the report said.