Zimbabwe main opposition leader calls for unity in Covid-19 fight

Douglas Mwonzora

MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora has called on all local political parties to unite in the fighting against Covid-19 as Zimbabwe’s new infections and deaths continue to rise.

As at January 24, 2021, Zimbabwe had 31 320 confirmed cases, including 22 250 recoveries and 1 005 deaths. With authorities battling to contain the deadly coronavirus, Mwonzora said the fight should not be left to the ruling party alone but requires all hands on board irrespective of political affiliation.

“We have a Covid-19 crisis and must forget that Mwonzora is MDC, (Nelson) Chamisa is this and (Emmerson) Mnangagwa is that.  At this point in time, we must fight in one corner.

“Right now, Zimbabwe is under attack from Covid-19. This problem must be tackled by all Zimbabweans. It has affected not only the ruling party but everybody across the political divide.

“For instance, at the beginning of January, the first public person to die of the disease was our secretary for culture and tradition affairs, Senator Cephas Makuyana. He was from the MDC and then we have seen people die from Zanu-PF and other political parties,” Mwonzora told the Daily News.

“However, the majority of people who have died are the public, they the poor, they are the underprivileged members of society. I was looking at the figures yesterday (Saturday) and close to 1 000 people have died and from these, few are high ranking officials, that means the majority may not belong to any political party, so we must de -politicise this problem and tackle it together irrespective of our political differences.

“We must tackle this problem together. The WHO for example has declared Zimbabwe a hotspot, we mustn’t look at that as a disadvantage, it is just an expression of reality but it opens a window of opportunity for Zimbabwean society to demand from the world the help that the world must give.

“Because we are a hotspot, we can request more facilities, more help from the international community. We must do this together. This is not an opportunity to score political points because this is a matter of life and death.” Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza became the fourth minister to succumb to
Covid-19 last week, following the death of Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister, Ellen Gwaradzimba, and last year’s passing of Lands and Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri.

“I want Zimbabweans and my counterparts in the opposition to look at this as a war against Zimbabwe by a foreign force. We must forget about our differences and tackle that war, fight that war.  We will in the fullness of time in the pleasure of our own do the bickering that we are used to but right now our people are suffering,” said the MDC boss.

“Covid-19 has created more problems than we are seeing. First, we have a problem of getting the facilities to # protect our people. Because this country is poor at this point in time, we must emphasis prevention rather than cure. So, our people must have prevention facilities and we must help each other procure those.

“The second is the problem of curing those people who are now affected by the disease. I’m told that one of the main issues is the shortage of ventilators and other facilities in hospitals and again we need to tackle that together.

“I also hear that there are certain medicines that can ameliorate the problem and they need to be made available.” Mwonzora also called on the government to provide safety nets for the masses affected by the closure of informal markets and also help with funeral expenses during this pandemic.

“The other problem is post-death. These families have nothing and we need to help them deal with funeral expense since most of these Covid-19 deaths are coming in multiples. A father dies and then the mother dies tomorrow. And  most families are ill-equipped to deal with the funeral expenses so the government must come in. But there are other problems as well, industry has closed, business has closed and therefore the means of livelihood of our people has been shattered,” he said.

Source – dailynews