By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
A few days ago, the least popular political outfit, MDC-T held its elective extraordinary death trap, where the interim leader, Dr. Thokozani Khupe reportedly contracted Covid-19 soon after the drama at the Harare International Conference Centre. More than 1000 supporters were gathered without putting safeguard measures on how to combat the spread of the pandemic. The same happened in Mbare, where musicians were reported to have hosted a gig, with more than 5000 people in attendance.
I have been reliably informed that hospitals around Harare have run out of ventilators, inclusive of privately owned facilities. Earlier yesterday morning, I was chatting with three reputable medical personnel who openly told me the situation is getting out of hand. One of the medical practitioners said to me I quote, “Tinashe, don’t be fooled, people are dying in huge numbers”.
I don’t see any sense, where the State President goes on annual leave when the whole country is facing a state of emergency. This is quite strange. The President has an obligation to make critical decisions to save the country from total collapse. The announcement of new lockdown measures yesterday is welcome but more needs to be done.
I’m not sure about what the constitution says about this kind of annual leave which reaps off citizens of almost 30 days, leaving out the remainder 11 months in office. Perhaps we could say, he will be in office for almost 10 months, since month of December, it will be almost holiday.
Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting service, Nick Mangwana made it clear that we are now overwhelmed in our local Hospitals, and hospital beds are full. When you hear this coming from early childhood spin doctors, then you must understand that it was a really long time ago.
In a nutshell, the situation is getting out of hand, and the Government has no money, and we are likely to witness swarms of bodies lying outside hospitals.
One friend of mine, who is a medical doctor told me last night that some of the Covid 19 patients have been turned away, and some are dying in car parks upon admission. To my surprise, politics is more important for them than anything else, this is why they allowed the Extra Ordinary chaotic congress to proceed with at least over 1000 people’s lives were at risk.
A few months ago, leading journalist and filmmaker, Hopewell Chin’ono was detained at Chikurubi Maximum prison for simply exposing Drax International deal which reaped off our nation, close to $US70 million which disappeared at the hands of Obadiah Moyo and other well-known people around you Mr. President.
In March 2020, I made a recommendation to come up with a National Strategic Thinking Indaba on the implications of COVID-19, on how to deal with the current trajectory we have in our country. Honestly, would you imagine in your own sense, to hear that the President and Minister of Health are on vacation or annual leave, when hospitals have run out of ventilators, and the situation is getting out of hand? Would you really imagine that?
With all the arrogance from spin doctors, Covid 19 is now on our doorstep, and we have no enough facilities to cater for more than 6 million people in Harare alone. We are sitting on a time bomb, and soon it will burst.
We hear, Parirenyatwa, St Annes and other major private hospitals isolation centres are full, and majority of patients are dying helplessly.
Now there is a facility in Mt Pleasent, which is left for only those who have deep pockets. Upon admission, you are supposed to pay $2500.00 as a deposit before squaring off the balance. You can guess how many people can afford this amount in a society where more than 90% of people are not formally employed.
I hear most ministers are out of the country – some are in villas in Dubai, some are legends of the sea. They flew to different parts of the world to enjoy themselves. We have a life-threatening situation at hand, and where are we supposed to go?
My recommendations are as follows :
- We need a proper study Research on the implications of Covid-19 pandemic
- A proper Economic Recovery framework from this pandemic, and allow participation of all players on how to deal with our situation
- State of emergency
- The supplementary budget of this pandemic
- A National prayer day must be introduced, set aside in the National constitution
- Banning church gathering was a wrong move, with more prayers, we have more power
- Redirection of expenditure to critical sectors of the economy
- Policing Human Rights on Covid-19 pandemic
- Citizen perspective is important. Regular updates with accurate figures are important
- Priorities in Governance is important.
- I recommend a Covid 19 Research Ethics Committee which comprises of medical practitioners, representatives of the Business Community, Researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, corporate world leaders, etc
- National Covid-19 task force which must be Inclusive of Corporate World leaders, the business community, private sector, medical practitioners, Researchers, etc
- We need a proper technological advancement to improve the ICT Sector, to back out the Economic Recovery framework
- We are expecting a RESHUFFLE of the current cabinet. In short, some of the Ministers do not even exist in your Government.
- How much was allocated to political party Finance Act, and how much do we have for our hospitals?
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org