AMHVoices: Is COVID-19 the final blow to Zim?

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Men wear protective masks as they walk down a deserted street on the first day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

WITH a bleeding heart, I watched Robson Chihera, a member of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe highlighting the obstacles they are currently experiencing in their innovative and noble efforts to save the academic year through the use of technology.

By Boniface Manjeya, Our Reader

Unfortunately, these hurdles are almost insurmountable under the current economic environment, which leaves one to wonder: Is this coronavirus pandemic the final blow to Zimbabwe’s future?

Other nations have already put measures in place to try and minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the academic year by employing such methods as online learning, but not much action is seen on the part of our government, save for the wait and see approach they are adopting hoping that the situation will take care of itself.

Such noble and dedication like that of Chihera, and others alike, deserves combined effort from both the government and the communities at large so that our learners do not lag behind. Government’s failure in this regard is just but one factor among a host of others.

Now, with the fact that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube seems to be conceding that the economy is on the blink of collapsing, the future really looks bleak.

The pandemic is far from over and that coupled with our inability to sustain ourselves spells only doom and gloom.

The failure of the international a sure guarantee that the country will be on its knees sooner rather than later.

The only way the economy can be given a lifeline is by opening up the avenues that people make use of to
sustain themselves, something that our government is hesitant to do for fear of a spike in the rate of infection,
which might unleash a set of its own challenges given the fact that our healthy system is in intensive care.

To add salt to the wound, nature decided to unleash its own whip — drought — which threatens food security
in the country. The crop failure that resulted from the drought that the country experienced has left millions vulnerable and the problem is compounded by our isolation by the international community.

The fact that under this global crisis when other nations are getting financial relief and Zimbabwe is being
left in the cold speaks volumes on our failure to meet our financial obligations.

These are truly unchartered waters for everyone globally because it has been more than a century since the world experienced such a pandemic that brings everything to a standstill. But there is life after this pandemic and the time to lay the foundation is now.

Our children will have to go back to school and, as such, there should be mechanisms in place on how we will manoeuvre that route. Our people will have to hustle again in the informal sector and crucial preventive preventive
measures will be needed to avoid a spike in the rate of infections.

Instead of legislators getting involved in high speed car races showing off their cars bought from looted
governments funds, they should be indulging in serious discussions of national importance, find ways to intervene and help people like Chihera, people who clearly have the interest of the country at heart that despite the financial constraints they face, are not leaving anything to fate, but are rather finding innovative ways to help students because fate leads the willing.

The lack of convincing strategies is a true reflection of a leadership that has reached wits end , now employing
the wait-and-see approach hoping that some divine intervention will resolve the country’s predicament.

The fact of the matter is that the pandemic is there and well thought out strategies must be put in place in preparation for life after the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Probably someone needs to whisper to our elders that at times the greatest gesture to show and prove
how much you love and care is by letting go.

The story they are telling in the manner in which they are responding to this pandemic really leaves a lot to be desired and one is compelled to ask: Is there any route out or this is the final blow for Zimbabwe