When the Titanic was sinking and the lifeboats were being launched the ship’s captain sought first to protect the most vulnerable people: ‘women and children first’, he ordered.
When the UK began its Covid-19 vaccine inoculations two months ago it had already worked out its priority cases. People in care homes and those over 80 years old were top of the list along with front-line health workers most exposed to infection, to be followed by people over 70 and so on.
Some may ask: what use is someone taking up space in a care home or, for that matter, anyone over 80? Surely we should give the vaccine to important people? Well that is the choice made by President Mnangagwa’s regime: government ministers are to be vaccinated first, followed by MPs, top government officials and the military then front-line health workers.
Among the priority cases presumably is the Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri who has embarrassed the government by accusing our all-weather friend China of being responsible for the outbreak. She is a notorious loudmouth; last year she welcomed the spread of the virus in the US saying it was God’s punishment for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. (See: https://www.voanews.com/africa/zimbabwe-minister-accuses-china-manufacturing-covid-19.)
Muchinguri, who is also head of the cabinet taskforce on Covid-19, has however said she herself will not take any vaccine that is not developed in Zimbabwe. She may have a bit of wait as laboratories in Zimbabwe seem to be preoccupied with issuing fake Covid-19 test results bought by hopeful travellers. (See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2021-01-28-probe-into-fake-covid-19-test-result-claims-launched-in-zimbabwe/.)
Another priority case is the government’s information chief Nick Mangwana, who recently described doctors as ‘medical assassins’ – perhaps unwise if he is to bear his naked arm to one of them . . .
MDC Alliance Treasurer David Coltart said he was not surprised by the government’s priorities: ‘Cabinet ministers will get the Covid-19 vaccine first in Zimbabwe. No mention of the elderly or vulnerable. No mention of teachers so that children can get back to school. If true it doesn’t surprise me. Zanu PF are only interested in self-preservation.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/01/anger-over-govt-plan-to-only-give-vaccine-to-ministers-soldiers-mps-and-top-officials/.)
But the main question is when the third world will actually get vaccines in any quantity. The European Union is already freaking out over its failure to vaccinate enough of its own population because of a shortage of supplies.
The next few months will be a rocky time on the pandemic front but new vaccines are being approved and production is being rapidly scaled up. The Zimbabwean government will not get all supplies for nothing. It will have to find the money to buy some. Perhaps it should follow the advice of the former American state department official, Todd Moss, who says Zimbabwe should stop spending millions of dollars hiring public relations firms and lobbyists to try to change US policy. ‘It’s a complete waste of money and so I don’t expect to see those approaches bearing any fruits under the Biden administration.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/01/us-sanctions-to-stay/.)
- 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.
- 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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