In a scathing attack on the British government, published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Michelle Kambasha a 28-year-old ‘publicist’, says Zimbabwe’s cautious handling of the pandemic has made it feel safer than Britain. ‘It’s no secret that England’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been at best lacklustre and at worst fatal’, she said. In contrast, ‘many African countries, scarred by previous pandemics, realised quickly that there was very little room for error, and did what they needed to do . . . . governments like Zimbabwe’s did as much as they could.’
Ms Kambasha described the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as incompetent. ‘I felt no schadenfreude, but as I sat on my flight to the relative safety of an African country, I considered whether there were some lessons in humility to learn among an elite that projected such confidence in its ability to mount a “world-beating” response to the virus.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/18/family-fled-zimbabwe-covid-safer-england-government-pandemic.)
The Vigil disagrees and thinks the UK can indeed boast a ‘world-beating response to the virus’. Here are some facts: first vaccine announced in Germany 9th November; first country to approve the vaccine UK 2nd December; first country to get supplies UK 4th December; first country to begin vaccinations UK 8th December.
Within 6 weeks of vaccinations beginning the UK this week reached its target of 2 million vaccinations a week, bringing total vaccinations so far to more than 6 million – many more than any other country in Europe. Prime Minister Johnson, competent or not, can be proud of these facts at least.
As far as competency goes, Ms Kambasha falls short herself. Despite saying her family had ‘fled’ Zimbabwe, she admits a few paragraphs later ‘My family moved to England as economic immigrants wanting to make a better life for their children . . . England offered education, amenities, healthcare and a stable government’.
They obviously did well because she goes on the say: ‘Ten years ago, we began going back to Zimbabwe every other Christmas.’ She tells of staying at a lodge just three hours outside Harare. ‘Our temperatures were checked every day and all staff and visitors, without exception, wore PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure our safety.’
Ms Kambasha was happy going on a game drive. Perhaps now that she is living back in Zimbabwe she might like to show some humility herself and go to Chitungwiza to meet some ordinary people struggling to survive amid the rapidly worsening Covid-19 pandemic which has carried off 2 cabinet ministers in 48 hours.
The suffering people of Zimbabwe could do with a publicist (See: https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/zimbabweans-blame-government-covid-19-deaths-officials).
- This week the UK’s National Health Service sent out letters inviting more people to book their free vaccine injections for Covid-19. The letters were not only in English but in Arabic, Bengali, Spanish, Farsi, Gujerati, Hindi, Kurdish, Nepali, Punjabi, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Albanian, Tagalog, Urdu and Chinese. The UK has already donated £548 million to the World Health Organisation which is to provide vaccines to 92 developing countries. The UK has offered 3 million vaccines to Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans in the UK will have contributed to the cost of this through their taxes.
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157718011034607. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Deborah Harry, Shylette Chipangura and Dudzai Mukondorongwe who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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