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FULL TEXT: Patrick Zhuwao's letter to Chinese President

25 Mar 2020 at 08:29hrs | Views
Your Excellency President Xi Jinping, I am writing this open letter to plead with you for the People's Republic of China to assist the people of Zimbabwe to attack COVID19 with aggressive and targeted tactics in a manner similar to how you successfully fought the pandemic.

I am making this plea to you directly as the nephew of President Mugabe who worked directly with him as a senior national official of ZANU PF within the Central Committee and the Politburo for 15 years from 2003 till when he left ZANU PF and government in 2017. I was a Member of Parliament for 8 years. I also served as a Government minister for 5 years serving as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Development, as Cabinet Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, and finally as Cabinet Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare . I hope and pray that my appeal will find favour with you based on the very special relationship you had with President Mugabe and how President Mugabe regarded the People's Republic of China highly. President Mugabe always described the relationship between China and Zimbabwe as that of all weather friends. Can you please honour and remember President Mugabe by directly assisting the people of Zimbabwe in their hour of special need.

Your Excellency, can the People's Republic of China assist the people of Zimbabwe to implement the recommendation made in a tweet by the Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on 23rd March 2020 when he said, "We need to attack the coronavirus with aggressive and targeted tactics – testing every suspected COVID19 case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case, and tracing and quarantining every close contact". Whilst Zimbabwe may have the basic physical infrastructure and some of the people to be able to start on such a programme, the nation still requires specialist equipment, processes and systems for it to be effective.

Your Excellency, I would like to appeal to you for The People's Republic of China to help in establishing and equipping 73 testing centres through-out Zimbabwe in 4 zones of the Metropolitan Province of Bulawayo, 6 zones of the Metropolitan Province of Harare, and the country's 63 rural districts. The testing centres can be housed in physical infrastructure that currently house either the Government's Composite District Offices or the local authority and council offices. These areas are manned by senior level district officials from several government departments such as District Medical Officers and District Nursing Officers, as well as District Joint Operations Command (JOC) officials such as District Police Officers (DisPol) and DIOs from intelligence. With adequate training, safe conditions of service, such as personal protective equipment, and decent remuneration, I am confident that these fine Zimbabwean men and women will make an appreciable difference.

With the district as the focal point for intervention, it is also necessary to institute and establish interventions at both higher and lower levels. At the higher level and in line with the WHO Director-General's recommendation, I would like to appeal for the People's Republic of China to assist in establishing isolation, care and treatment centres for all confirmed cases in each of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces. Zimbabwe has physical infrastructure which include Public Service Training Centres in some of the provinces, as well as teacher training centres, technical college and/or universities buildings. This infrastructure can be rapidly pivoted to form the core and basis for isolation, care and treatment centres. Similarly, senior level provincial officials, including Provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC) officers, can assist in coordinating the operations of both the provincial isolation, care and treatment centres and the district testing centres within their respective provinces. I am requesting for the People's Republic of China to assist in retrofitting infrastructure, equip the 10 isolation, care and treatment centres, and train the necessary staff.

Finally, Your Excellency, I am appealing to you for the People's Republic of China to assist in establishing mechanisms for tracing and quarantining every close contact in each of Zimbabwe's 1,958 local authority wards. I suggest that local infrastructure such as schools in those wards be used as the core and foundation of the ward quarantine centres. Public sector personnel such as nurses, police officers and even teachers and agricultural extension officers can assist in tracing and quarantine processes. Should there be need for extra personnel within the wards, officers who were retired can be recalled to assist based on their extensive knowledge of the communities, local conditions and local terrain. Such retired officials include retired nurses, teachers, village health workers, community development officers and ward coordinators. As Zimbabwe's former cabinet minister responsible for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, I am certain that provided with appropriate education and training, requisite tools and conditions of service including personal protective equipment, and reasonable allowances and remuneration, Zimbabwe has fine men and women who will stem the coronavirus.

I thank you in anticipation, Your Excellency.

Asante Sana. Iwe Neni Tine Basa. Umsebenzi lo Umkhulu.

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