By Donald Mushove
Just like many ordinary Zimbabweans I was happy to know that fellow countrymen dotted around the globe are returning home and being allowed into the country given the global lockdown due to the coronavirus SARS-Cov-2.
I was even happier to know that government is quarantining our returning friends and relatives for 21-days. This surely ensures that they don’t spread the virus within our borders.
I am however irked by media reports that are going viral that those who had returned from the UK were demanding hotel accommodation ahead of Belvedere Technical Teacher’s College hostel accommodation.
That to me is inconsiderate and utter rubbish that should not be tolerated at all costs. A quarantine is not a holiday trip, and given Zimbabwean circumstances these compatriots should give us a break.
Zimbabwe is facing a serious economic crisis at the moment, that has seen demonstrations and industrial job actions cloud the better part of 2018 and 2019.
On the economic front that spells out a lot of man-hours lost, revenue lost and lost time in terms of development of our country.
As if that is not all Cyclone Idai and the 2018-2019 farming season drought did not spare us. Even as we speak the 2019-2020 farming season is a write off.
Crippled health system
The health system is currently crippled – facing serious shortages of basic essential medicines, equipment, gloves and masks.
The lockdown itself is a necessary devil, but even the government is alive to the damage the lockdown is doing, and has done to the economy. This actually means government has taken the lockdown route to save lives.
Given the much constrained government resources – a gluttonous appetite for special treatment in quarantine is inhumane, unAfrican and unacceptable.
We are looking at a possibility of people starving in their homes, people dying of other ailements due to lack of medicine and total closure of some companies failing to pick up even after the lockdown.
Just recently it was in the news that Malaria has already claimed 131 lives in Zimbabwe so far.
This is a clear sign that Zimbabwe is sitting on a health time bomb. A demand for a flamboyant life style on the expense of the public purse becomes insensitive.
Some have been arguing that these people are entitled to such five-star treatment as it is their right. However I beg to differ, government has a duty to provide basic necessities of life in order to save life.
Government must provide accommodation, food and medical care. Even tent accommodation is acceptable in times of crisis.
This is the worst crisis of our time, and even those people we expected to assist us are also burning. We normally come out of such calamities through donations from the international community.
The same community is the one so hard hit by this pandemic hence the return of our beloved countrymen.
It becomes shocking to see them turning a blind eye to such a serious situation which is estimated to claim about 1% of the world population, which translates to not less than 75 million people.
We have people from Botswana and South Africa who have been quarantined by government under the same circumstances if not worse in Plumtree, and they are grateful of government efforts.
Government has done nothing wrong
What then makes Zimbabweans from UK more equal than others? Suddenly their lives are now more important than others, such that they can’t even share the scarce resources that we have currently?
This seems to perpetuate the activism spirit which knows no limit. They seem to be so used to a life of loud mouths as a means to survival.
This is Zimbabwe. We man up and share. Government has done nothing wrong in the offer they have made. That same accommodation hosts students for at least three months every academic term. Some of those students come from regional countries, and others abroad.
The conditions at Belvedere are quite good, by any standards.
So for a Zimbabwean who grew up in Mufakose and then flew to the UK in persuit of a good life, to reject the same accommodation, which he once used to have an academic certificate is nonsensical.
You once spent four years at the same institution now you can’t even spend 21 days there?
If everyone makes personalised demands of luxury to government, then we can as well advertise our five-star hospitality at the Harare Sheraton.
Zimbabwe for sale. Government has a duty to provide basic necessities of life. But this is a pandemic crisis, not a holiday.
Luxury is something that someone had to fend for themselves. Government lays a foundation for the economic climate to allow industrious individuals to thrive and achieve their personal gratification.
Save the behaviour for another day
However the current situation is all about saving lives not flamboyance or some frivolous demands. Now is not the time for some tomfoolery behaviour, there is no room for show off in these desperate times.
Cantankerous surly behaviour can be saved for another day, if we make it out of this calamity with as much energy for such madness!
Those returning home should be called to order. They should always remember why they left home, the same ghost is still around and even more daring given the prevailing pandemic.
It is still Zimbabwe and our economy is performing in a negative direction despite all efforts to make sure it stabilise.
All the same welcome home brothers. Please adjust quickly to default settings.
Wishing you the best of luck.
Donald Mushove is a Forensic expert, consultant, writer and poet. He is contactable on email@example.com / Donald Mushove on FB/ @OGmediaguru on Twitter/ +263 777 479 781 on WhatsApp
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