Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zanu PF government and its failure to implement a Disaster Management Plan

By Tafadzwa Chivaura

It boggles my mind to find out that Zimbabwe is being run by incompetent and self-centred individuals who don’t care about the majority of the citizenry. Instead of focusing on implementing meaningful policies that address the socio-economic decay in the country, the Zanu PF government is busy spending most of its time trying to find ways of weakening and completely destroying the people’s movement so that Zimbabwe becomes a one party state.

Zimbabwe police arrest opposition supporters outside their party headquarters in Harare, Friday, June, 5, 2020. Armed riot police fired teargas and arrested several opposition leaders who had gathered at the party offices after it had been forcibly occupied by a rival faction with the help of state security agents. Zimbabwes main opposition MDC party is mired in divisions after a court ruled in March this year that Nelson Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnanagawa in 2018 elections, is not the legitimate leader of the party.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwe police arrest opposition supporters outside their party headquarters in Harare, Friday, June, 5, 2020. Armed riot police fired teargas and arrested several opposition leaders who had gathered at the party offices after it had been forcibly occupied by a rival faction with the help of state security agents. Zimbabwes main opposition MDC party is mired in divisions after a court ruled in March this year that Nelson Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnanagawa in 2018 elections, is not the legitimate leader of the party.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Recently, Mr Mnangagwa and his administration applauded themselves for managing to control the spread of the Coronavirus, but the reality on the ground shows that the people of Zimbabwe are suffering from a more deadly pandemic other than Coronavirus.

This pandemic is the Zanu PF government itself. Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has captured all the state institutions such that they now have total control to protect their ill-gotten wealth on the expense of the poor citizens.

Instead of giving citizens some social grants and emergency relief loans to sustain themselves during lockdown, the security forces have launched brutal attacks on the poor citizens claiming that they are breaking the lockdown rules.

Three MDC Alliance youth leaders namely Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova were arrested at a roadblock by the police for demonstrating against the government’s failure to provide for poor citizens during the COVID19 lockdown.

The trio were then detained at Harare Central Police station, after which they were later on abducted by the suspected state security forces. They were severely tortured, sexually abused, and then later on dumped on the roadside about 60 miles from Harare.

The following week, another MDC Alliance Youth leader – Womberaiishe Nhende was horribly assaulted and arrested by the police when he was standing outside the party headquarters. He sustained deep injuries and was left unconscious.

The police denied him immediate medical attention. They took him to Harare Central Police station where he spent the whole day battling for his life. After a long day in pain and agony, he was later taken to hospital under police custody.

This abusive behaviour by the Zanu PF government has left the majority of the citizens in difficult situations as they don’t have any other sources of income that will sustain themselves during the indefinite lockdown period imposed on them.

Well, in my presentation today; I just want to contribute on the ways in which the Zimbabwean government can prepare for natural disasters that always catch our communities unprepared.

Before a disaster strikes the community, certain measures have to be implemented in order to reduce or avoid the potential impacts on the vulnerable populations.

Therefore; in a country where there is good governance, the government should have a well functioning department that is responsible for designing a Disaster Management Plan – which is a coordinated plan that helps in reducing the effects of the disasters.

The department should be financially resourced and helps in activating proper safety and evacuation procedures in the event of a disaster occurrence.

It is very sad that Zimbabwe was hit by a series of natural disasters (ranging from tropical cyclones, floods, drought, epidemic diseases, and so on); but no funds were budgeted to cater for these catastrophic events. These natural disasters caused devastating effects on many parts of the country but nothing was done by the Zanu Pf government to help the affected communities.

The government never released any money to assist the affected communities, and we always find out that the communities mostly get help from donations from well wishers.

The most surprising part is that, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is always on record of complaining that there is no money in the country but they manage to buy top of the range expensive cars for themselves whilst the citizens are languishing in poverty. This clearly shows that the Zanu PF government doesn’t care for the ordinary citizenry, but it only cares about enriching the pockets of the fewer elites.

If we had a faithful and trustworthy leadership in Zimbabwe, there was going to be a smooth flow in the government’s day to day operations. But it’s unfortunate, because Zanu PF has captured all the state institutions resulting in the manipulation of all government activities.

Therefore; in order to effectively tackle the impacts of these natural disasters, appropriate measures should be put in place and these include; Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery strategies.

a) Mitigation: – the department should have an already prepared plan that is designed to reduce or control the impacts of the disaster so as to ensure business continuity of the critical operations after the incident. This strategy helps in saving lives and livelihoods when a disaster strikes. The emergency plan should be regularly maintained in a structured and methodical manner and should be up to date in the event of a disaster occurrence.

b) Preparedness: – the department should put in place some training and exercising plans which focus on the readiness to respond to the incidents and emergencies. Training is one of the cornerstones of preparedness and it helps in improving the technical skills of the personnel – that is; both operational and team management. It also epitomises coordination through continuous cycle of planning, organising, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and taking some corrective actions in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response.

c) Response: – there should be a strategy that is already put in place to issue warnings and some evacuation procedures to the community. This strategy helps in providing the search and rescue plan that provides immediate and continuous assistance, and the assessment of the damage caused by the disaster. Therefore; under this strategy, the main focus is to have some immediate restoration plans which enable the affected communities to go back to normalcy within a short period of time.

d) Recovery: – when a disaster strikes, people are always left in sad situations such as mental and emotional stress. Therefore, in order to alleviate stress; the department should give extra attention and reassurance to the affected communities. The department should work with local people in different communities to set up long – term recovery committees that will help in identifying needs per individual family. This strategy helps in reducing stress amongst the affected people because they will know how to quickly access assistance and have high hopes of getting their homes, community, and life back to normal.

It is a shame that the Zanu PF government always wait for a disaster to cause some huge impacts on the communities and then start running around looking for donations. Sometimes, the donations will not even reach the affected communities because the Zanu PF government is full of political scavengers who always thrive on stealing goods that don’t belong to them.

The only alternative to come out of this mess is for the people of Zimbabwe to allow a creative and people power government that will transcend the limits of thought. This can only be achieved if the people of Zimbabwe come together and work as a unified harmonious whole. Failure to do this, we will continue getting trapped in a life that makes us complacent to the deteriorating situation in the country.

*Tafadzwa Chivaura* (MSc in Applied Meteorology) – *is the MDC Alliance UK and Ireland Provincial Youth Assembly Treasurer. He is also a member of the MDC Alliance National Youth Council. You can follow him on twitter: @tafadzwachivau1*

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