Outrage over govt spending

HARARE - Zimbabweans have expressed outrage over the government’s poor planning and unnecessary expenditure at the expense of preventing medieval diseases like cholera, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 30 people.

Government has since declared a state-of-emergency after the outbreak had spread to most parts of the country from the epicentre in Harare’s Glen View and Budiriro suburbs.

However, critics say government could have done more to avoid the disaster through channelling enough funds to fight such health problems.

Recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa chartered a plane for former first lady Grace Mugabe to fly from Singapore to Harare to attend her mother’s funeral, a move that placed government in the eye of a storm, as many believe the money could have been used to improve the country’s health system, including the fight against cholera.

Kuwadzana East MDC MP Charlton Hwende said the money used to hire the plane could have been put to better use to avoid the deaths that have been recorded so far.

“Our biggest challenge is misplaced priorities. Chartering a flight for $1,6 million for (Grace) Mugabe to come back home and attend a funeral at the expense of buying drugs for hospitals is wrong. We have a cholera outbreak in Glen View which we are failing to contain as a nation,” Hwende wrote on his Twitter account.

As the epidemic creates a large humanitarian crisis in the capital, the cholera treatment centre at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital (BRIDH) alone is receiving dozens of patients daily, which is more than anywhere else in the city.

In Glen View, there are signs the situation is not getting any better as dozens of people have also been taken to health centres in the area.

The Harare City Council has been failing to provide clean, safe drinking water, in a situation that has been made worse by burst sewer pipes.

Political analyst Piers Pigou questioned government’s morality for chartering a plane for Grace when people are dying of cholera and typhoid.

“Like a storyline from ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’... how the elite play while the people suffer. Is there no shame? How much did this cost (chartering the plane) and how does this compare in comparison to resources dedicated to fighting current cholera and typhoid outbreaks?” Pigou queried on Twitter.

Some, however, believe the fight must involve all the people, including the opposition.

Political activist Linda Masarira, writing on her Twitter account, attacked the MDC Alliance saying it should have used the money that it used to hold a thank you rally in Chitungwiza recently to fight cholera as a matter of priority.

But MDC official David Coltart responded, saying  Masarira was also supposed to add the fact that there was money used to charter Grace’s plane which could also have been used in the fight against cholera.

“If you are prepared to be objective you might add that the hundreds of thousands of $ used to fly (Grace) Mugabe back should also have been used to curb cholera. Also — how much money did it cost to hold a rally? I expect better of you Linda,” he said.

Analyst and constitutional law expert Alex Magaisa, said there was poor planning with government structures, adding that if proper policies had been adopted, they would have helped to alleviate the crisis.

“The cholera outbreak is a reminder that society eventually pays for stupid political decisions.

“In July 2013, a week before elections, Zanu PF made a populist but economically imprudent decision to cancel water bills in urban areas. It was a shameless vote-buying gimmick.

“Clean water does not come free. Water has to be treated. Bills pay for that treatment. When a political authority makes populist decisions to buy votes, the consequences will eventually be felt at some point. Many of our challenges are man-made. They result from poor decisions

“If you trace most of our problems. They originate from poor decision-making by leaders. But they won’t take responsibility.

“Cholera is a preventable disease. It’s a disease of poor governance. The physical sickness is a manifestation of a sickness in our system of government,” he said on Twitter.

This comes as government is mulling splashing over $20 million on top-of-the-range fuel-guzzling vehicles for MPs.

Comments (7)

Please DailyNews, do your own research before printing some claims. There are very few airlines that make even US$ 600 000 for a round trip. The $1.6 million mentioned by Hwende is absolutely rubbish!

Mhofu Chaiyo - 18 September 2018

So Mhofu tells us how much it costs. Even if it is $400k, the money could be used by our hospitals which need a lot of money right now.

Inyika - 18 September 2018

Mhofu, we are talking of a private jet, not an ordinary one. A private class, luxurious jet. It cost US$1, 6 million

Makumbinde - 18 September 2018

Mhofu Chaiyo, something is hindering your thought process you urgently need to do a self-introspection or seek help i shudder to think that it could be just blind allegiance to zanupf.

Sinyo - 18 September 2018

Iwe Mhofu what's your point? Even if it was $100 mari yacho ndeyake ED wacho? Why does he feel so entitled to playing around with our money as if it's his? If ED can charter a plane for his enemy Grace imagine what he's doing for himself and his friends? Any time you have the leader bypass Treasury or parliament and start acting like a bull in a chinashop then you know we are headed nowhere. And the Linda Masarira fool is clutching at straws. Why should MDC be footing cholera bill? Zanu doesn't rest telling us kuti ndivo vari panyanga, ED promised (guaranteed if fact) healthcare during the election. Saka chaipa chii? Now the fool is crowdfunding. Nxa.

Moe - 18 September 2018

This is the issue with Zim politics, we take cheap political shots at each other and do not address the most prevalant issues. Zanu PF charting a plane for Grace is a Zanu PF (political party) not a Zanu PF (Government) issue. The party takes care of its own, Zanu as political party has money we all know this and this is no different to MDC throwing a thank you party in Chitungwiza. As Alex says attack political and policy decisions and these include 1. Cancelling the water bills just ahead of the 2013 elections. This is a quantifiable and direct link to deterioration of Harare Council 2. Salaries of Mayors and councils, based on GDP and even the size of the country , A Harare mayor should not earn more that the president of America or any first world country for that matter. That these Mayors and councillors sign off on these things is another issue that needs to be looked at. and also an issue that quantifiable.

Lucy - 19 September 2018

Munhu ari kurwara ne cholera haana basa kuti mushonga wabva kuMDC Alliance here kana kuti kuZanu PF. Ngatigadzirisei zviri kunetsa nyika yedu takabatana kwete zvekutukana nekunakurirana nyoka mhenyu. Central government and the MDC Alliance led councils should work together for better service delivery. "Let us learn to live together as brothers or we perish together as fools", Martin Luther King Jr.

Daniel 5 - 19 September 2018

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