IN the resort town of Victoria Falls, where the mighty Zambezi River roars into the world famous water falls, everything looks as beautiful as ever, minus of course the human factor as the tourism sector has been stripped bare by the ravaging effects of Covid-19.
For slightly over a year now, the sector has been bleeding, ravaged by the effects of Covid-19, a global plague that has seen many countries imposing national lockdowns that among other factors limit travel.
Consequently, service providers have been singing the blues.
Alone with no tourists, workers have been laid off, shops have closed and business hasn’t been roaring like the mighty Zambezi River as it plunges into depths of mother earth, creating a sensation that lures the world to its evergreen rain forest.
However, it is not all gloom and despair after President Mnangagwa launched the second phase of the vaccination programme in the resort town as he continues with his drive to ensure that Zimbabweans are vaccinated against Covid-19, a flu-like disease that has killed just over 1 500 people in the country since March last year.
In the campaign against the pandemic, President Mnangagwa has been leading the way as he rallies the nation to embrace vaccination, that experts say is likely to become a passport for the world to return to normalcy.
Under the second phase of the vaccination programme, the country is targeting school teachers, religious leaders, security forces, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases, but in Victoria Falls, the Government made an exception as all the 110 000 residents were invited to take the jab.
As he launched the second phase of the vaccination programme, President Mnangagwa reiterated the World Health Organisation call that ‘No one is safe, until everyone is safe’.
“I therefore challenge all of us in our respective communities to accept the vaccination programme and to shun vaccine hesitancy, misinformation and the negative conspiracy theories. Getting vaccinated is a personal and a family responsibility as well as a national obligation.
“Vaccination further advances our country’s global obligation to combat the continued spread and negative socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic in line with the United Nations and African Union expectations,” he said.
Just like all world nations Zimbabwe is trying to turn the tide and restore normalcy so that everyone can get back to their lives, children continue school and efforts towards achieving Vision 2030, to become a middle-class economy are pursued with vigour and determination.
In his latest campaign, the President was accompanied by dozens of opposition leaders, including the country’s biggest opposition party in terms of parliamentary representation, the MDC led by Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
While Zimbabwe made history as it came together to fight a common foe, some chose to stay behind, again missing the chance to move along with the times.
It will of course turn into another ‘what if’ moment for Chamisa and his hangers-on.
Following the successful launch of the vaccination programme, Zimbabweans are making a beeline to vaccination sites festooned across the country to get their shots.
So far the uptake is encouraging as more than 60 percent of the targeted group under phase two were inoculated.
To achieve herd immunity, Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate 60 percent of the population.
However, the naysayers, or rather the “jecha” brigade wouldn’t let that historic event pass without their characteristic scorn and disdain for anything that is home-grown and that bears the success of the Second Republic’s foreign policy in a global village that is in danger of collapsing under the bane of misplaced nationalism on Covid-19.
Zimbabwe has so far received Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines from China, but the MDC-A, whose funders are in Western capitals, would rather Zimbabwe get the vaccines from their masters, never mind the defects therein.
Thus the MDC-A, with habitual belligerence to anything home-grown, and in its quintessential puppetry inclination to anything that is Western, has been trying to dissuade the masses from getting the jabs, while in the wee hours of the night the leaders visit Western embassies to get the vaccines.
While some of the opposition leaders like Job Sikhala have received the Sinopharm vaccines, some in the opposition with no trace of medical literacy have tried their best to derail the programme.
It has failed to stick because it is never servile to accept kindly deeds, such as vaccines from China, especially at a time when some countries are seeking to profit from a virus that has led to a global economic contraction.
To malign such a kind gesture is disingenuous as it is misleading because the Government has, from the onset, made it patently clear that the administration of the new jabs will be carried out on a voluntary basis. No one will be forced to take the jab.
President Mnangagwa has made it clear that science will lead the way and so far we have been walking that straight and narrow guarded accordingly by experts.
Zimbabwe which is expected to vaccinate 10 million people, a figure that will ensure herd immunity will not be forcing anyone to take the antidotes.
But while it is conceivable that in the foreseeable future vaccines will be the passports in our every day life, the advent of this deadly pandemic should not be a passport for the “jecha” brigades and alarmists to send the wrong signals to the masses who stand to gain more when vaccinated than not.
Indeed, as the President said, vaccination is the gateway to a return to normalcy when people can go about their businesses without fear of contracting the disease.
A brief history of vaccines shows that millions of lives are saved each year by vaccines.
They work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences — the immune system — to recognise and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target, such as Covid-19.