By Lionel Saungweme
MDC Alliance President, Nelson Chamisa donated personal protective equipment to Bulawayo City Council (BCC) on Thursday to help in the fight against the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
The donation of 1450 face masks, 1000 latex gloves and 23 litres of 250ml hand sanitizers comes in the wake of rising cases of infection in Bulawayo.
The handover ceremony was attended by BCC Director of Health Services, Dr. Edwin Sibanda, Heads of Department and staff, MPs Senator Gideon Shoko, Nicola Watson, Jasmine Toffa and Stella Ndlovu, Cllr Arnold Batirai and Health, Housing and Education Committee Chairperson, Cllr Lilian Mlilo, who stood to read the keynote speech on behalf of Bulawayo Mayor, Solomon Mguni.
Since the lockdown began, Chamisa has reportedly been working to mobilise resources to fight the pandemic, which has spread exponentially in other countries. In Zimbabwe, COVID-19 has so far claimed four lives and recorded 34 infections.
In the main speech, Ward 12 Councillor, Lilian Mlilo commended the “unity of purpose that has been demonstrated by the Bulawayo community” and added that a “joint approach and strategy will strength (sic) our fight against the spread of COVID-19.”
He also thanked the legislators for their generosity.
Another person who showed gratitude was Dr Edwin Sibanda. He commended Chamisa, all local Senators and MPs for their contribution in the fight against COVID-19. He mentioned that all donations were appreciated as “this will go a long way in the fight with the disease.
Not to be out done, former Mpilo Hospital, Provincial Medical Director, Dr Ruth Rabode also commended the gesture.
“Thank you Mr President (Chamisa) for leading by example. Zimbabwe, especially Thorngrove Clinic, desperately needs a unity of purpose and all the help we can get,” said Dr Labode.
The handover ceremony saw people that attended sitting far apart to strictly observe the physical distance rule. No group photos were taken after the event to minimise the possibility of contagion. Facial masks were used and all people who attended cleaned their hands first with a sanitizer before sitting.
Senator Shoko, who has lived in Bulawayo for 46 years, told the gathering that he has not seen anything more disrupting to health, global business and social life like the coronavirus.
“We decided to make a donation to the BCC frontline workers to help fight this deadly virus,” said Hon Shoko.
BCC also received metal sanitizer dispensers from Thulani Chauke, the owner of Thulani Chauke Metal Fabricators (Pvt) Ltd.
Chauke explained that it was more risky to pour out the sanitizer by hand than to step on the metal foot-operated dispenser. The industrialist mentioned that he had donated the equipment to several companies and health institutions.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Member of Parliament, Jasmine Toffa brought smiles to the small gathering when she demonstrated how to use the sanitizer dispenser.
“This innovation will go a long way in helping to curb human contamination and further promote social distancing. His donation to Thorngrove Hospital, Mpilo Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospitals, and other institutions is greatly appreciated,” said Toffa.
The latest May 1, 2020 “CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE” shared by the Ministry of Health and Child Care noted four deaths, five recoveries and stated that “Zimbabwe still has thirty-four confirmed cases and not forty as previously reported”.
This translates into 13 cases for Harare, 12 for Bulawayo, five for Mashonaland East, three for Mashonaland West and one for Matabeleland North.
Bulawayo resident and Secretary of the conservative and pro-Mthwakazi cultural group, Ibhetshu Likazulu, Mbuso Fuzwayo, lauded the donation saying “politics with action is a positive thing.”
“It is good and exemplary leadership. He (Advocate Chamisa) has filled the leadership vacuum caused by glaring misgovernance exhibited by the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration.”