Fungi Kwaramba in Victoria Falls
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa, who received his first Covid-19 jab at a momentous occasion attended by different religious and political leaders yesterday, has called on the nation to shun conspiracy theories and get vaccinated for the country to return to normalcy.
Officially launching the Second Phase of the national vaccination programme, the President said all political players should pull together in the fight against Covid-19, a global plague that has derailed economies across the world and wrecked lives and livelihoods.
The President said Zimbabweans must disregard conspiracy narratives being peddled by some religious and political leaders and embrace the Government-sourced, free Covid-19 medicines that have been scientifically proven to be safe
Leading by example, President Mnangagwa got vaccinated in full public view and jokingly asked the nurse to inject him with the antidote again as he felt no pain.
The Second Phase, which is targeting teachers, security personnel and the elderly among other groups got off to a flying start in the resort city of Victoria Falls where residents of the world-famous town also received the vaccines, as part of Government plans to reopen the economy and reset the country on its development trajectory of being an upper middle economy by 2030.
This is anchored on tourism, mining and agriculture.
“Let me reiterate the global call by the World health Organisation 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 the Covid-19 pandemic in line with the United Nations and African Union expectations,” he said.
“The first phase of the vaccination programme was a success due to the broad acceptance of the vaccine doses by the targeted groups. Over 68 percent of the target group in the first phase has been vaccinated. I commend all frontline workers and the security services sector for the fortitude and dedication to duty with regards to our fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
“Your unflinching service and patriotism to your country and people, has seen you emerge true heroes during these distressing times. Well done,” the President said.
With other political leaders who included the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Prof Lovemore Madhuku and main opposition leader Mr Douglas Mwonzora joining him to get the jab, the President reckoned a new era of politics of engagement and patriotism among all political players has dawned.
“This launch is historic in that it is not only being held here at the City of Victoria Falls, our premium tourist destination, but also in attendance are leaders from various political parties in our country, who will also receive their Covid-19 vaccine doses.
“We are indeed all united in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Going forward, let us build on the singleness of purpose demonstrated here today and move together in unity, love and harmony to build the Zimbabwe we want. As political leaders, it is incumbent on us to galvanise the people to always act in the national interest, and to be productive, honest and hardworking for the prosperity of our great country.
“Such is the culture and ethos we must all entrench under the Second Republic, where patriotism, unity of purpose and value consensus must reign supreme. In our diversity and different persuasions, we are one people, with one motherland, Zimbabwe,” the President said.
Yesterday’s launch was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Finance Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Prof Amon Murwira, Women Affairs Minister Stembiso Nyoni and Tourism and Environment Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, among other senior Government officials.
The President said it is encouraging that the country has been able to flatten the curve but any complacency could reverse the gains made so far.
Giving a vote of thanks MDC-T leader Mr Mwonzora criticised some leaders for politicising the vaccination programme.
“This pandemic must be completely depoliticised that is why we have all political leaders here.
“We have adopted a new philosophy and new way of doing our politics; first of all, we must be guided by what is in the best interest of our people. It must be Zimbabweans first and our political self-aggrandisement second. Your Excellency, on my part and my political party we urge a new politics in this country. Gone are the days rancour, acrimony, violence, hate and intolerance. We want to substitute this with the politics of rational disputation and tolerance, you are because I am, I am because you are.”
Zimbabwe is currently in the process of vaccinating its population and the second phase will see the nation getting a step closer towards the unfettered reopening of the economy to maximise production and productivity.