BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
THE Matabeleland Forum (MF) has slammed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for failing to deal with socio-economic and political crisis, worsened by endemic corruption which the Zanu PF administration is turning a blind eye to.
In a statement, MF spokesperson Reverend Useni Sibanda said corruption was to blame for the collapsing health sector and resultant strikes by health personnel.
“The forum is appalled by the level of corruption within the central and local Government which has led to erosion of the safety nets among the most vulnerable populations. The effects of corruption have plunged the nation’s health sector as evidenced by incessant strikes by medical professions, who themselves lament the horrible working conditions, poor salaries and lack of provision of personal protective wear in the wake of COVID-19,” the statement read.
“Corruption is cited as a disabler of service delivery, evidenced by the loss of life in hospitals through road carnage and most recently 13 lives lost in the township of Luveve Bulawayo owing to unexplained water contamination believed to be linked to old water and sewer systems long overdue for replacement.”
Sibanda said the government seems to be turning a blind eye on the dire situations in isolation centres which need maximum attention as they are now the new epicentres of COVID-19.
“The forum is concerned that the State is not responsive to ensure provision of essential equipment and health care at the health institutions in Matabeleland and Bulawayo Metropolitan which include Thorngrove, Mpilo, United Bulawayo and Ekusileni hospitals. These health facilities are still not adequately equipped to meet medical services to local communities and returning residents from South Africa and Botswana,” he said. Sibanda also bemoaned the increase in the cases of police brutality.
“The forum notes with concern an increase in cases of police brutality which has resulted in deaths of three citizens during the COVID-19 lockdown. Further, we are concerned that two women and a man were assaulted by the police in Cowdray Park during the same period,” he said.
“We call for restraint on the part of the police as they exercise their duties. We also call for the government to ensure that justice is served on the part of rogue officers who cross the professional line.”
Paul Munakopa was shot and killed by police offices in Malindela, Bulawayo, in May this year, while Levison Ncube succumbed to injuries resulting from police assault when the lockdown commenced in March.