COVID-19 not a disease for a particular race


guest column:Learnmore Zuze

It is quite unfortunate that Defence Minister, Oppah Muchinguri, has placed Zimbabwe in the limelight again, albeit for a negative reason. Muchinguri is quoted as having alluded to the theory that Western powers were suffering from the ravaging effects of coronavirus as pay back for the sanctions they imposed on other nations like Zimbabwe. Even SABC, among a host of TV channels, ran a story on their channel signifying how viral the minister’s remarks had gone.

It is even sadder and casts a dark shadow on the quality of minds in the Executive of Zimbabwe. The viral news has been captured in various forums as a position of the Zimbabwean government. The nation is thus branded from these remarks which need scrutiny on their implications on the Zimbabwean image.

No sane person would, under the circumstances and in light of the death toll resulting from the virus, have anything positive about the feared disease. It befuddles logic how a top ranking official can celebrate the disease whatever the case. Probably, it could be a case of ignorance as Iran has so far reported two deaths of black people. In any case, Western powers have not been the only recipients of the cruel infection. Countries like Iran are themselves not the best friends with America and the UK yet they are all bearing the brunt of COVID-19. There are 141 entities under US sanctions including Zimbabwe and the virus has been unsparing. Despite calls for the lifting of sanctions by African Presidents like South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, American President Donald Trump extended US measures for another year.

The virus has also not spared Africa and the infection rates are rising daily such that Muchinguri’s theory exposes ignorance at an elephantine scale. It is tantamount to saying that HIV is a disease for the poor.

One again wonders whether this is the reason why the country has not done a single notable thing to protect its citizenry from the possibility of the virus hitting the country.

Consignments from China are still reportedly reaching the airport unregulated and travellers from affected countries are still coming unscreened.

Could it be because of this philosophy that the virus was specifically designed by God for the West as he fights Zimbabwe’s cause?

The remarks are indeed mortification to Zimbabweans both locally and abroad.

The trouble with the African crop of leadership is the reluctance to take responsibility for challenges and fixing them. Sanctions, even for the late former President Robert Mugabe, provided a leeway for escaping poor governance.

No country should really be comfortable blaming sanctions when individuals in the top echelons of power live opulent lifestyles, purchasing USD$580 000 vehicles and engaging in endless travel.

COVID-19 is just about everyone’s disease and the world must unite against it.

Instead of focusing on the worsening political and economic environment, we are celebrating the misery of the world. The political environment in Zimbabwe has remained volatile with no hope for the country and talk of a delta between those in the top echelons of power and the poor remains rife.

Sanctions for Zimbabwe are a simple realisation that in the absence of the rule of law, the country will not be easily viewed as belonging to the family of nations. The country has demonstrated time and again that it is not yet ready to be viewed as a democracy. The clearest sign that Zimbabwe was still stuck in a political rut occurred on August 1, 2018 when, after the parliamentary elections, the Zimbabwean military opened fire on protesters, culminating in six deaths and dozens of injuries. This is the kind of material that invites sanctions and does not please the same God in any case.

The offending soldiers did not meet with any consequence in light of the dastardly act.

Zimbabweans, economically, are wallowing in self-pity as they look back to the Mugabe era. Bad, the situation was, but today it has become worse. The prices of goods skyrocketed last week yet we can celebrate the misery of nations affected by the coronavirus.

The human rights abuses that saw several Western nations impose sanctions on Zimbabwe have remained intact due to the disregard of human rights.

God cannot look with satisfaction at a country where people are killed for protests and harassed for holding opposing views and yet send a virus that could affect the same people.
The world must unite in the fight against the virus; it is anyone’s disease.


  1. Very sad this woman should show her total ignorance, given her long position in Zimbabwean politics. She makes us sound like complete fools and childingly vindictive to boot.

  2. Thank you for your article, Mr Zuze, it made for interesting reading. Even though your article was overly verbose, the essential facts are that the Minister is misinformed and gleeful about COVID 19 being “pay back for the sanctions they imposed on other nations”, and this shows in her unfortunate statement. She must have listened to street gossip which holds that black people will never contract the virus. This is truly unfortunate, because the virus has infected and will continue to infect and kill many people in Jamaica, South Africa and Zambia. And this is before it comes to our country, where it will wreak havoc in the absence of a well-coordinated and well-funded medical response. We will reap what the powers-that-be have sown.

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