AFRICAN First Ladies should continue working hard to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 wreaking havoc globally, including African countries, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa said yesterday in her capacity as Vice President of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
She made the remarks while chairing the OAFLAD Steering Committee virtually.
The First Lady said data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that 108,7 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported since the start of the pandemic in December 2019, and close to 2,4 million deaths have been recorded globally.
On the African continent, 2,7 million cases have been reported with close to 25 000 deaths.
“Here in Zimbabwe, 35 222 cases and 1 400 deaths have been reported since the first cases were reported in March 2020. These statistics are sobering, and we must continue to work hard to mitigate the impact of this pandemic.
“I know that as African First Ladies we are playing our part and contributing to national efforts to fight this deadly pandemic,” she said.
Before starting yesterday’s proceedings, the First Lady and other Mothers of Africa who are part of the steering committee, observed a minute of silence in honour of people who succumbed to Covid-19.
Amai Mnangagwa acknowledged and thanked OAFLAD president, Her Excellency Madam Antoinette Sassou-Nguesso, the First Lady of the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, for requesting her to chair yesterday’s Steering Committee meeting.
This year’s 25th Ordinary General Assembly is being run under the theme, “Showing resilience in face of Covid-19 by building on past gains and learning from the challenges of the present”.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), technical advisors of the First Ladies held their meeting and deliberated on several items. We will be hearing the recommendations that came from the TAs meeting. It is my hope that we will as First Ladies, contribute to discussions brought up in the recommendations and conclude and adopt these during this steering committee meeting.
“At the end of the steering committee meeting, we will need to agree and adopt the agenda for the 25th Ordinary General Assembly scheduled for Friday the 19th of February 2021,” she said.
Nine recommendations, including the need for a new website where a link should be created to individual first ladies and or their foundations, were discussed.
The secretariat report was recommended for approval and so was the budget and actual report.
The mandate for the OAFLAD president was recommended to be aligned to the annual calendar which runs from January to December, making the election of the next OAFLAD president to take place at the beginning of next year, instead of July this year.
The audit report was recommended for discussion and approval by the OAFLAD Steering Committee.
Amai Mnangagwa spelt out the need for other First Ladies who are not yet members of OAFLAD to come on board.
“There are First Ladies who are not part of our OAFLAD membership. To enable us to grow as an organisation with diverse subscribers, we should also reach out to those who are not yet members informing them of the activities that we are doing or being done by OAFLAD and benefits of being part of this organisation because I believe once we are here, we are the mothers of nations.
“This is the platform where we share the activities that we are doing in our respective countries, thereby learning from others and taking the experience back to our countries for the development of our continent,” she said.
Her suggestion was adopted as part of the recommendations.
OAFLAD executive secretary, Mrs Mame-yaa Bosomtwi, resigned and First Lady Amai Mnangagwa bade her farewell and wished her well in her future endeavours.
“You worked with us so well and executed your duties in a manner which saw our organisation where it is today. I wish you well our daughter in your endeavours,” she said.
Mrs Bosomtwi said it had been a great honour working with the First Ladies and pledged to assist the organisation from outside.
OAFLAD is an advocacy organisation where First Ladies of Africa seek to leverage their unique position to advocate for policies that make health services accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment.
Amai Mnangagwa was elected as the OAFLAD Vice President in recognition of her philanthropic work and assistance to the less privileged in Zimbabwe.
She was elected during the 23rd OAFLAD’s General Assembly Meeting.
Yesterday’s meeting came at a time when First Lady Amai Mnangagwa is leaving no stone unturned in spreading information about Covid-19 and mobilising resources like face masks, sanitisers and food through her Angel of Hope Foundation.
The country is under lockdown which makes it difficult for vulnerable groups to fend for themselves.