THE United Nations should be commended for yesterday launching a campaign to raise US$715 million which will cater for the health, food and sanitation needs of 5,6 million poverty-stricken Zimbabweans at a time the government is failing to fulfill its constitutional obligations.
Success or failure of the UN humanitarian initiative will depend on the international community’s generosity but, coming in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic that has rattled the world, it will not be easy to mobilise resources.
According to UN officials, the humanitarian response plan is expected to play a key role in mitigating the impact of Covid-19. External help is always welcome, but where is the government in all this? The lethargic and unconvincing manner in which the government has generally handled this public health emergency has shown that the Zimbabwean people desperately need the help of the international community or else the world must now brace for a humanitarian disaster.
Talented broadcaster Zororo Makamba died under the most heart-rending circumstances, even as government officials repeatedly told the nation that they were ready to tackle Covid-19. The lies and deception cost a young life, leaving the entire population in shock.
The sheer scale of the UN’s fundraising effort is one of the largest in the world outside a war zone. For a country richly endowed with natural and human resources, this is an indictment on the Zimbabwean government. A country of vast potential has been reduced to the beggar of the world community. Harare City Council officials have revealed to the Zimbabwe Independent that central government has channeled to Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital a meager
ZW$100 000. This is supposed to be the nation’s premier Covid-19 response facility. The government’s Covid-19 economic mitigation plan has been described as piecemeal, threadbare and inadequate. Botswana, a neighbouring country whose economy is anchored on diamonds and to a lesser extent tourism, has launched a P2 billion (US$164 million) fund to ameliorate the impact of Covid-19. Compare that with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s bare bones plan.
There is absolutely no reason for Zimbabwe to be condemned to the humiliating status of a beggar nation. What is it that other countries have that Zimbabwe does not have? Is it minerals? Is it favourable climate? Is it fertile soils? Is it a glorious history? Is it clever ancestors? Is it bad luck? None of the above! What Zimbabwe lacks is a selfless, incorruptible and competent leadership that works in the national interest. How do you explain a situation where most medicines distributed in this country are from the donor community? When it suits them, our clueless politicians are quick to denounce and insult the donors who feed the poor, educate orphans, treat the sick, supply life-saving drugs and empower poverty-stricken communities with income-generating projects. Donors are keeping body and soul together.
While our leaders have no qualms hiring luxury aircraft for millions of dollars or splurging on expensive cars, it is scandalous that they do not appreciate the importance of equipping Wilkins Hospital with a life-saving ventilator. Whose country is this? What kind of society have we been reduced to?