BY FAITH ZABA
ZIMBABWE, like the rest of world, is battling a ravaging Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated by a new Delta variant.
Across the globe, all eyes are on saving lives as governments and private companies are stampeding to manufacture, procure and distribute vaccines to reduce mortality and severe illnesses on those infected.
Essentially, lives are at stake. Disruptions in business and social services, such as health are evident and require urgent redress.
Even as the pandemic is taking an unprecedented toll on Zimbabweans, resulting in high cases of mental related complications such as depression and anxiety, the case seems different for 19 politicians, belonging to the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), who were recently pampered with brand new Isuzu D Max double cabs.
The vehicles were purchased using the taxpayers’ money. In an economy already struggling with a myriad of challenges, including a dilapidated health sector, it is utterly shocking for the government to splurge the little resources available to appease political opponents.
Polad, is a grouping of politicians, formed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to find ways of solving problems bedeviling Zimbabwe. But instead of fixing eyes on addressing the attendant problems, government has proved that its priorities are misplaced.
Testimony to this is how Zimbabweans angrily reacted to the purchase of the vehicles at a time when ordinary people are dying from lack of access to oxygen as the Covid-19 pandemic persists.
One of the Polad principals, Lovemore Madhuku, of the National Constitutional Assembly, a small political party — by the numbers, considering he got a measly 2 300 votes in the 2018 presidential elections, was taken to task for accepting the Isuzu.
Even those from Madhuku’s hometown, Chipinge district, have questioned the law professor’s integrity and moral probity in receiving the car when most health centres in his home area do not have ambulances.
Similarly, an embarrassing picture of an elderly nurse posing next to a scotch-cart ambulance went viral in January this year. This was after the Mberengwa community mobilised resources to buy the scotch-cart. This stone-age move by the desperate community represented in parliament by Joram Gumbo and Tafanana Zhou of Zanu PF, speaks volumes about government’s skewed priorities.
Elsewhere in this edition, we carry a heart-breaking story of a Rusape man who made an audio recording during his last breathing moments. The unidentified man, gasping for air, told a sad story; a teary tale that exposes the inadequacies in the health sector.
While admitted at a government hospital, the man, pleaded to be connected to a ventilator to save his precious life. Sadly, there was none. Grisly pictures of another man in the same hospital ward had fallen off a bed and lay on the ground. On a prima facie, the cause of death is all related to lack of oxygen ventilators.
How many ventilators could have been bought with the same money which was used to buy vehicles for Polad principals?
Companies have been donating towards fighting Covid-19, while that is plausible, government should get its act right. Priorities need to be rearranged and put lives first.