By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of opting to have festivities in Namibia in the midst of serious concerns over threats of COVID-19 and has pledged to frequently inform Zimbabweans about the coronavirus situation.
While Mnangagwa was travelling to Windhoek, Namibia to witness the swearing-in of President Hage Geingob, the MDC leader on Saturday woke up with the not so shocking news of the two new confirmed coronavirus cases.
“I have just been informed by City authorities that we have two new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Harare this morning. Please take preventive measures and exercise extreme caution wherever you are. We must together ACT to stop the virus from spreading. Remember to always wash your hands,” Chamisa wrote on his microblogging Twitter account.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Chamisa through his spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda slammed many critics who accused the opposition leader of not respecting “proper channels of communication” when he made the announcement, adding that it was the right thing to do to inform the nation about the real situation at hand.
He slammed Mnangagwa for leaving the country for festivities in Namibia when the whole world is busy fighting coronavirus.
“It is really saddening that when the country is facing such a terrible national crisis, there is virtually no equipment, we have less than hundred beds across the country, about thirty in Harare and slightly lower number in Bulawayo at Wilkins and Thorngrove hospital, that you have the President of the country, illegitimate as he is, leaving the country to go out to have some festivities in Namibia.
“As a country, we should call to question the money that they have used to fly out to Namibia for something that is non essential.
“The Namibians can inaugurate their President under full understanding of the fact that the rest of the world is busy dealing with COVID19. But we as a country that has a very poor health system that could be washed out of the face of the earth by this pandemic, cannot afford to be funding a large contingent to just go and have some festivity and put silver spoons in their mouths.
“It is therefore something that puts in question the commitment of the leaders of this government to the health of the people of Zimbabwe and the wellbeing of our nation,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said the questioning of the MDC leader on why he decided to inform the public about the confirmed cases of coronavirus was “nonsense.”
“The question therefore of President Chamisa who wakes up every morning, checks up with his national command centre for updates on what has been happening overnight, which is why you saw him waking up early today to inform the country on what happened over night is unquestionable and it is an old style of politics, the politics of nonsense, of noise and the politics of lies, President Chamisa is not going to do that kind of politics.
“President Chamisa is going to tell the country the truth and if you expect him to wait for someone who is having festivities in Namibia, please do wait, he is going to do his job and as soon as he has information, he will share it with the nation including with the members of the ruling elite in order to just make sure that the country is unified in its response to the condition not in order to lie to the country,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said, “It is an unnecessary journey under these circumstances which is really really troubling and I think it would be advisable for him to come back and have a look at the country.”
On Friday, Zimbabwe reported its first confirmed case of the virus after a 38-year-old man from Victoria Falls who had travelled to the United Kingdom earlier in March tested positive.
Meanwhile, the Harare City Council on Saturday confirmed another two cases and urged Zimbabweans to take preventive measures.
“Council urges you all to be cautious with your health bearing in mind that two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Wilkins Hospital. Measures to raise additional funding to fight the disease are being put in place.” read the Harare City statement.
Nehanda Radio also reported how the treasurer of Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Norman Matara said the state of Zimbabwe’s hospitals was not good, with not enough protective equipment and most doctors did not have the know-how of tackling the coronavirus.