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'Preparedness plan will minimise import of covid-19' - boastful dog putting out fire with his puny fart

21 Mar 2020 at 19:26hrs | Views
"My Government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has put in place measures to minimise the import of COVID-19 into the country and ensure health safety to all citizens," said President Mnangagwa as he launched Zimbabwe's Coronavirus National Preparedness and Response Plan.

"The National Emergency Prepared and Response mechanism for surveillance and early detection of any possible cases was activated and will remain active until after WHO has removed the global health alert.

"This pandemic surpasses all that we have experienced before. Around 200 000 people have tested positive globally and around 7000 have died worldwide."

This is just a wishful thinking; Zimbabwe is in no position to protect its citizens from the coronavirus outbreak!

It is all very well to say the country has a "surveillance and early detection plan" but another thing to have an effective and working plan in place.

How many suspected coronavirus cases have been tested so far? And how many such test can the country do in a day?

Government has come up with a US$26 million budget to finance strategies aimed at combating the possible outbreak and spread of the virus. How many personal protection kits, test kits and specialist equip such as ventilators with this pittance buy?

Yes Zimbabwe is poor but the failure to get our priorities right is a serious issue we cannot ignore. For example, the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Kirsty Coventry, announce last week that government was spending $23 million and $13 million upgrading the National Sports, Barbourfield and Sakubva stadium respectively. She did not say whether the sums are in US$ or Z$. Still, it beggars belief that the nation should be spending money on prestige projects and pittance on life and death matters.

But worse still, Mnangagwa himself allocated US$4.5 million to POLAD members tasked to lobby Western and SADC nations to demand the lifting of sanctions. A waste of time and money since the IMF, WB, AfDB and all the other financial institution have all confirmed that they will not pay Zimbabwe one dollar in financial assistance even if the sanctions were lifted because the country's reform programme is "off-track".

The IMF singled out the country's convert money printing – which is fuelling inflation – and the failure to stamp out corruptions as reasons for abandoning Zimbabwe as failed state beyond the pale. What IMF has done is confirmed Zimbabwe's junk financial status and investors, being a shrewd and savvy lot, have taken note.

As long as Zimbabwe remains a pariah state there will be no meaningful economic recovery. The coronavirus outbreak has certainly caught the nation with its pants down! Whatever is in this Coronavirus National Preparedness and Response Plan, we can be certain it will be wilfully inadequate for two reasons.

a)    40 years of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and rank lawlessness earning the country the pariah state label has left the country in economic ruins with any all but collapsed health care service. We have no human and material resources with which to fight the virus.

b)    We are not going to make the best use of the little resources we have because it is in the nature of this Zanu PF regime to be wasteful. After 40 years of corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical rule the regime is set in its ways; IMF and others have failed to get the regime to reform and not even the Armageddon threat of the coronavirus will succeed.

Like it or not. Mnangagwa's coronavirus preparedness plan is just another example of boastful dog "claiming to put out the furnace fire with his puny fart", as the great African writer, Chinua Achebe, so aptly put.

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