Who do we trust now?
By Simba Mukaka| Two newly sworn-in cabinet ministers had a discord giving divergent statements on cholera deaths of schoolkids.
The Minister of Health and Childcare, Obadiah Moyo announced one thing while the Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima declared the opposite.
The embarrassment comes at a time when the Cholera death toll shot up as the latest figures pointed to 21 people dead.
Health and Childcare Minister Moyo introducing his cabinet colleague to Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital where over 300 cholera people are being treated, said there were schoolkids killed by Cholera.
“We have Professor Mavima. He has just arrived. His school children were affected. You know he lost some kids at the schools. So we are working as a team,” he said.
Clashing with his counterpart, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Mavima argued there were no school pupils who died.
“I would like to correct information about kids that were said to have been lost. As of now, we haven’t lost any pupil from our schools,” he said adding that, “There are some parents of children in our schools who have died.”
But on Tuesday, Health Minister Moyo declared that two school children from Glen View 5 Primary School succumbed to cholera.
“We have had one major problem, at the schools. At one of the schools we lost two children and there are about 20 kids who are sick,” he said.
Moyo added that lessons were temporarily closed to contain the situation in affected schools.
“We have decided to suspend the classes at the school while we bring in the fresh water. We cant close permanently because they will be having examinations soon. We will resume the classes when water is available. If we dont suspend the classes, they will carry on drinking from that same contaminated water from unsafe wells,” he said. “The germs, bacteria we are talking about have a short incubation period. After three hours, the symptoms will start showing. Thats why we have to suspend the classes at this school. Its inconvenient but relevant to save lives.”
Updating journalists on the cholera situation earlier in the morning before touring BRIDH with Mai Mnangagwa, Moyo said a school headmaster died.
Further slipping away from Moyo’s statement on schools’ temporary closure, Professor Mavima claimed schools were safer for children.
“We are finding that our learners may actually be safer coming to school because they have clean water, they have WASH facilities, they are also getting information on this, he said.
Government in collaboration with corporates and non-Governmental Organisations such as Delta, Unilever, Unicef, MSF and WASH are doing their level best providing medication and safe water in schools and the affected communities.