By Patrick Guramatunhu- The Zanu PF cabinet in its collective wisdom has decided to reopen schools in two weeks time! announced the phased reopening after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“Cabinet agreed that the school calendar for 2021 starts on a slightly phased approach, with the examination classes opening on 15th March and the rest on 22nd March 2021,” announced Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa.
“Teachers for examination classes should therefore report for duty on 10th of March, and the rest on 17th March, 2021.”
Here we go again!
By the time schools closed last year, a number of school had corona virus cases. As we all know there have been very few cases of young people catching the virus which would suggest the viral load in our school setting must be high.
It is no secret that it is impossible to maintain social distancing and other basic corona virus preventive measures are near impossible where 40 or more student share the same washing and toilet facilities.
What measures have government put in place to ensure school are not going to be corona virus hotspots again?
Schools should be reopening after the country has vaccinated 10 million people, it target head immunity. The government is not likely to reach this target until end of 2022 because it was slow off the mark in purchasing the vaccines.
Government should ramp up its testing so it can test all the students and staff and quickly isolate those with the corona virus infection. Last year it could only test 47 out of 1 000 at Dadaya High School!
Then there is the issue of paying teachers a living wage. Has this thorny issue been resolved?
Zimbabwe is a rich nation and can afford to pay its teachers, nurses, dictators, etc. a living wage.
“We don’t need anyone’s money as we can do it on our own. Sometimes it’s just the mindset and belief to achieve that,” Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya told Business last week.
“Like what oil is to Nigeria, gold is to Zimbabwe. The precious mineral alone has the potential to turn around the country’s fortunes.”
The reason why Zimbabwe’s economy is in total meltdown, has been for decades now, and have failed to turn it around is because the wealth from diamonds, gold and other resources is wasted through gross mismanagement and rampant corruption. Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube has admitted the country is losing as much as US$ 1.2 billion per year to gold smugglers.
In 2016 the now late President Robert Mugabe admitted the country had been “swindled out of US$ 15 billion worth in diamonds alone”! As we all know he never arrested even one diamond swindler nor recover one swindle dollar.
You sir, President Mnangagwa, promised “zero tolerance to corruption” when you took over following the November 2017 military coup. Well, you too have failed to arrest one diamond swindler or recover one swindled dollar!
Indeed, ever since the November 2017 military coup corruption has spread to other areas such as the procurement of fuel and gold smuggling.
Zimbabwe should not be reopening schools just because other nation in the region are do the same! Countries like SA have ramp up their tests regime, they are set to reach their target head-immunity this year, etc. We have no such system in place.
It is utterly pointless talking of reopening schools when there will be no teachers because they are incapacitated. The recent poor grade 7 results showed the pass rate has sunk to less than 40% with many school register 0% pass rate. A nation that fails to educate its young is doomed.
The root cause of our failure to address the corona virus challenges and the failure to pay teachers, etc a living wage is the criminal waste of resources through corruption and mismanagement. The nation has been stuck with a corrupt and incompetent government for 41 years and counting because Zanu PF rigged the elections.
Zimbabwe has been kicked the can of rigged elections and bad governance down the road for four decades and the nation has paid dearly for this folly as the country’s economy has sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss. The corona virus pandemic has made our economic crisis worse and thus underline the urgency of our situation. We must deal with the problem of rigged elections now.
The 2023 elections must be free, fair and credible and the democratic reforms to make this possible must be implemented now and not a year before the elections.
Zanu PF leaders will never stamp out corruption because they are the Godfathers of corruption and whilst corruption rule the roost it is naive to expect the corona virus challenges etc. to be addressed! Zimbabwe is not getting out of this hell-on-earth the nation finds itself stuck in until we deal with the curse of rigged elections and bad governance.