So, the government of Zimbabwe, through its minister of health (who is also vice president) Constantino Chiwenga, in all its “profound wisdom” has finally decided to take some concrete action against the Indian variant of COVID-19 (B.1.617) recently detected and confirmed in the city of Kwekwe – through the announcement of mandatory quarantining of all those who would have travelled from, and through, the Asian country, and mandatory testing upon arrival, as well as yesterday’s announcement of the intensification of a localized lockdown in the Midlands gold-mining district?
If I had been one of those “experts”, and “analysts” always featuring in state media, I would have readily regurgitated the now all too familiar statement, “applauding”, “praising”, and “commending”, the “able” leadership of our “listening” president, and the “astuteness” of the “Second Republic” – “whose timely intervention will certainly save lives, which shows that they care about the people”.
Well, I thank the Almighty God that I am not one those “experts” and “analysts” – but, a very disappointed Kwekwe resident, who knows that the only reason we find our lives in such frightening peril, and now have to be subjected to another constricting, restricting, and horrendous intensified lockdown for the next three weeks, is wholly on the shoulders of our own “able”, “listening”, and “caring” government – which, as it would seem, is “able” to only “listen” to itself, and only “cares” about itself, with scant regard for the rest of us.
Why running around now – pretending to be a responsible government – when the country, and most specifically our city of Kwekwe, has already become an India variant COVID-19 hotspot, with a life having needlessly been lost, everyone now living on edge, and business activities further crippled, in the midst of an already catastrophic economic atmosphere – largely caused by the same government’s incompetence, not only in managing the country, but also the COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) pandemic, every since its outbreak last year.
Honestly, for how long have we been hearing about the Indian variant’s murderous devastation in the second most populace country in the world – since its prevalence several weeks ago, with thousands of people dying on a daily basis…yesterday recording 4,529 deaths, bringing the total to 291,331?
Did anyone on this planet not know that this fatal reign was due to a “new” variant (B.1.617) predominantly found in India, and was reportedly even more lethal, and easily spread, than the dreaded South African variant (B.1.361, which has the N501Y mutation)?
Yet, what did our “able”, “listening”, and “caring” leaders do – in spite of being aware of these facts for the past several weeks?
A big fat NOTHING!
Travel to and fro this global hotspot was permitted to continue unmolested – as witnessed by the unhindered passage of an Indian business delegation that visited Zimbabwe two or three weeks ago (without ever being quarantined), were escorted throughout the country by a very senior ruling ZANU PF Politburo member (Christopher Mutsvangwa), and was seen on state television mixing and mingling with several Zimbabweans without even bothering to wear face masks, or exercising any social distancing (our own minister of industry Sekai Nzenza being a part of this group).
When alarm and a very loud outcry were raised by citizens over this apparent recklessness on the part of both government, and their Indian comrades, what did the “listening” leadership do?
Again, a big fat NOTHING!
In fact, the ruling establishment appeared to rubbish and ridicule these concerns by the citizenry, by maliciously stating that, no one had lodged a complaint to law enforcement agents to have the said minister prosecuted (as had been done other people caught not practising COVID-19 preventative measures), and thus, no action would be taken.
Furthermore, there were widespread reports of a local Indian cooking oil manufacturing businessman, who recently returned from his homeland, with his whole family in tow – yet, was allegedly never subjected to any COVID-19 tests, and quarantining, despite coming from a known hotspot of a highly virulent strain.
However, such incompetence, through this grossly dangerous negligence and indifference to the sanctity of human life – especially, in the face of this raging pandemic – should not be particularly surprising, as this is merely a repeat of the events of last year, when COVID-19 first made frightening global headlines, yet our “able” leadership lamely waited for a whole three months, without even closing the borders, leading to its eventual emergence in our country.
As per script, the government started running around, “like headless chickens”, as my mother would say – imposing a total lockdown, and unleashing all the security force’s might on the population – yet, that was obviously too little too late.
Which is exactly what this clueless, unable, deaf, and uncaring administration appears to only be able to do – and, they bear full responsibility for all those lives lost, as the blood of innocent Zimbabweans is on their hands.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: email@example.com