Zimbabwe Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
Mthuli Ncube, Ph.D., has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to fight the ongoing cholera outbreak, which has claimed about 26 lives
mostly in the capital, Harare in two weeks.
‘Together with my colleagues at Min of Health, we have set up an auditable emergency crowdfund to further efforts to fight cholera to date. Together we can win! Min Of Finance Cholera Crowd Fund: EcoCash Biller Code 140286; CBZ Treasury, ACC 21537300017, Selous REF: FIGHT CHOLERA
According to the Herald, Econet Wireless has committed $e7 million towards containing a dual outbreak of cholera and typhoid following the declaration of a Zimbabwe emergency declaration on September 10, 2018. Additionally, the President’s Fund also released $e100,000.
An emergency has been declared and public gatherings banned in Harare to prevent the spread of infection.
In 2008, a cholera outbreak killed some 4,000 people and at least 100,000 people fell ill.
This was a key factor in persuading President Robert Mugabe to agree a power-sharing government with the opposition, as the government did not have the money to deal with the outbreak.
The current outbreak began on 6 September after water wells were contaminated with sewage in Harare.
Tests found the presence of cholera and typhoid-causing bacteria which has so far infected over 3,000 people, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo told reporters on Thursday.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) situation report, patients were not responding to first-line antibiotics.
“Relevant medicines should be purchased as a matter of urgency as soon as resistance patterns have been ascertained,” it said.
WHO also said the disease has spread to five of the country’s 10 provinces.
The cholera outbreak can be traced to Harare city council’s struggle to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing residents to rely on water from open wells and community boreholes, according to Reuters news agency.
Health officials are advising people to wash their hands regularly, drink only safe water, wash food, cook it thoroughly and avoid shaking hands.
The government-controlled Herald reports that the crowdfunding campaign has already received some backers.
They include telecommunication giant Econet Wireless, which has contributed $10m (£7m) and the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society $250,000 (£190,000).
However, some Zimbabweans have taken to social media to condemn Mr Ncube’s plan:
Three days in his new job our finance minister wants to crowdfund for a national disaster but just yesterday car dealers where exhibiting cars at parliament. The money to buy cars for ministers and MPs is available but the govt needs donations for a cholera outbreak
Lawyer Fadzayi Mahere wanted to remind newly elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa of his campaign promise:View image on Twitter
GUARANTEED. Not crowdfunded for.
This user saw the campaign as another ploy from the political class:
Don’t overwork your brain with this crowdfund!
Zanu-PF supporters will likely contribute to that crowdfund nonsense just like the MDC supporters contributed to the gofundme!
While Twitter user Bruce Zvandasara said it was more worthwhile than the opposition’s call for funds to pay for their legal challenge to Mr Mnangagwa’s July election victory:
Politics aside Zimbos @MthuliNcube call to crowdfund for Cholera outbreak is a good initiative…we r faced w this tugether it’s not time to oppose…it’s funny u donate GoFundMe n don’t crowdfund yet everyone’s life z at risk…it’s time for humanitarian approach over politics
This Twitter user wondered why the government had the money to charter a private plane to bring back former first lady Grace Mugabe from Singapore when her mother died, but does not have funds to deal with a public health emergency:
I’m sorry to say but this yo request, Mr Ncube, really borders on stupidity! Yo party Zanupf has money to charter a new jet for grace mugabe from Singapore, buys new 4X4s for chiefs, puts up expensive billboards all over Zim for campaign and you nw u crowdfund for cholera? Please