“Better the economy dies than our people” – Mnangagwa

HARARE – President Mnangagwa is still considering the next steps to be taken when the extended lockdown ends on Sunday, but stresses the decision will be informed by the need to save lives.

Speaking at State House in Harare while receiving donations from various organisations yesterday, including gifts from the Indian embassy, he said: “We as Government and as the President decided with this (Covid 19) challenge what do we do? Balancing the need for economic growth and the lives of people as well as saving lives, I came to the conclusion that if people die, we cannot resuscitate them,” he said.

“The economy can die and it can be resuscitated now or in future. It doesn’t matter, because as long as people are alive you can have conferences and discuss ‘how do we resuscitate the economy’ but I have never seen a conference where people are discussing how to resuscitate the dead.”

He said the Government’s bias has always been towards preservation of life, adding that the organisations that were at State House to donate had proved their understanding that the priority was to save lives.

The President said Zimbabwe had the first lockdown, which he extended by another 14 days, and focus was now on what course of action to take after Sunday.

“When she (Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri) came to disturb me, I was thinking what happens after this one ends. I am still working on that, but the primary objective is to give priority to saving lives.

“I have been studying events worldwide, how governments are reacting to these things. Some border on the line of carelessness: some border on the line of over-cautiousness.

“So, we must find a way to err on the side of cautiousness rather than on the side of carelessness,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said he was impressed by the responses Zimbabwe was getting from industrialists and others.

He has engaged captains of industry, churches, and chiefs and in the conversations, they agreed to be cautious as opposed to being reckless.

Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Rungsung Masakui, handed over medicines donated by his country.

India has shipped 103 tonnes of essential medicine worth US$400 000, which is part of the commitment it made of US$2 million, and the medicine has arrived in Zimbabwe.

“The balance of US$1,6 million would be delivered once this lockdown ended,” said Mr Masukui.

The medicines include chloroquine and hydroxycholoroquine, which have been used worldwide as a potential treatment of the disease.

He said 1 000 tonnes of rice were being shipped, while 25 medical personnel were taking part in an online training programme sponsored by his government on managing Covid 19.

African Sun donated linen valued at $1,2 million, while the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) handed over linen worth $800 000. Cresta handed over linen valued at $450 000, while Gain Wholesalers donated various food items.

FAW donated a tractor and boom sprayer to decontaminate public spaces and 600 face masks for policemen manning road blocks.

Coverlink weighed in with hand sanitisers worth $20 000, while Cottco handed over 500 knapsack sprayers, 12 000 face masks and 1 000 litres of hydrogen peroxide disinfectant. – Chronicle

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