Tuesday 24 March 2020


MDC president Nelson Chamisa has blasted his nemesis, President Emmerson Mnangagwa for his lackadaisical approach at handling the coronavirus, saying he should consider locking down the country’s borders to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.

Chamisa also challenged Mnangagwa to go into self-isolation after his trip to Namibia last Friday to attend the inauguration of Namibian President Hage Geingob.

Botswana leader Mokgweetsi Masisi, has, after his Namibian trip, started a 14-day self-isolation which will include testing for COVID-19.

Masisi will work from home over the period that he will also be quarantined from his family.

Namibia has three confirmed cases and Botswana has no case, while Zimbabwe has two confirmed cases, one of which has resulted in the death of journalist Zororo Makamba.

In an interview yesterday, Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda said the country should close all entry points before people die like flies, as the government is ill-equipped to fight COVID-19. He said Mnangagwa’s trip to Namibia was not necessary and the money used to fund it could have been used to improve the country’s ailing health facilities designated to handle COVID-19 cases.

“Over night, we had three cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Zimbabwe. Remember, that our ports of entry are still dangerously supervised,” Sibanda said.

“The other day, a bus at Beitbridge Border Post was allowed to cross the country at will, while a suspected case was quarantined. I am terrified at the lack of urgency by government.”

He expressed fear that the coronavirus would spread like veld fire at queues for fuel and Zupco buses. 

“We need to lock up this country. Distance working is now essential. We have too many flash points,” he said.

“He (ED) must as a gesture of seriousness and as a precaution to protect our people and country, follow the steps taken by other leaders,” Sibanda said.

“It is really saddening that he travelled to Namibia when the country is facing such a terrible national crisis. There is virtually no equipment in hospitals designated to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have less than 100 beds in the country (meant for coronavirus patients). We have about 30 or so in Harare, and a slightly lower number in Bulawayo,” he said.

“I believe that we should call these people to question. The money that they used to fly out to Namibia for something that is non-essential could have been put to better use. The Namibians can inaugurate their own President under full understanding of the fact that the rest of the world is busy dealing with COVID-19.”

Zimbabwe is facing a grim prospect of failing to control the spread of COVID-19 after it emerged that the country’s health professionals were yet to receive the requisite training and protective clothing to handle the pandemic which has so far globally recorded over 15 000 deaths and 358 823 confirmed cases as of yesterday. Newsday


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