The Sunday News
Limukani Ncube, Editor, Feature
THE Second Republic, under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, has pushed many frontiers, breaking new ground in many aspects and one of the initiatives is the bold phenomenon that has evolved Zimbabwe into a country that gives aid to neighbours.
The Bible in Acts 20 verse 35 says: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
“The word of God teaches us the importance of supporting the vulnerable by providing them with food, clothes, education, medication and a place they can call home. Jesus showed mercy to the poor in several instances as written in the Bible, he gave sight to the blind, touched the leper and healed the sick. He interacted freely with the poor and people that were neglected by the community,” explained an online blogger.
Guided by the spirit of neighbourliness and ubuntu, Zimbabwe has given aid to Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, and plans are underway to reach out to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the country handed over a consignment of 20 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Namibia. The donation followed satisfactory progress in Zimbabwe’s vaccination campaign.
Explaining the gift on his Twitter account, President Mnangagwa said: “Only when all citizens of our region are protected, will Zimbabwe be able to return to normality. I’m delighted to announce that Zimbabwe has donated 20 000 Covid-19 vaccines to Namibia. Let’s protect all Africans!”
Last year, Zimbabwe presented 1000 tonnes of food items to Mozambique to help displaced people who were affected by acts of terrorism and violent extremism in some districts of Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique. The donation, comprising 800 tonnes of maize and 200 tonnes of white sorghum, was made in fulfilment of the pledge made by President Mnangagwa during his State Visit to the Republic of Mozambique early last year.
The country has continued to assist neighbours in need, with plans underway to send a third consignment of aid to Malawi. The country has previously sent two consignments to assist flood victims in Malawi.
“As the nation is aware, the country, through its humanitarian assistance arm, ZIMAID, has already sent two consignments to assist flood victims in Malawi. ZIMAID will be sending another consignment which will be accompanied by Senior Government Officials, led by Mr Nathan Nkomo, Chief Director, Civil Protection Unit and include the following items among others: Cement- 90 metric tonnes; Housing units (cabins)- 30; Mealie meal; Clothing bales; Bumper shoes bales; and an assortment of other goods, such as detergents, sanitary pads and medical supplies,” said the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa in a post-cabinet briefing.
The government last week said efforts were also underway to mobilise support for the people of Rwanda who have also been affected by flooding. Flooding displaced over 600 000 people in Malawi and killed more than 600 people after torrential rain lashed the country in March, according to cajnewsafrica.com. Media reports indicate that in the DRC, over 400 people were killed (as of 9 May) by floods and landslides mostly in the South Kivu province where houses, schools and hospitals collapsed. Livestock and crops were also swept away, while thousands of people were left homeless. In Rwanda, about 130 people (as of 5 May) were killed after floods and landslides hit the northern and western provinces of the country, according to New Ziana.
The act of generosity and neighbourliness speaks to the mantra that “Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none”. It further works to project a good image of the country, which dovetails with the aspirations of the country’s economic Vision 2030, as espoused by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) document.
“The Second Republic ushered in a strategic opportunity to improve the country’s image and international relations, allowing Zimbabwe to claim her rightful place among the community of nations. Improved relations with the international community will be leveraged in respect of the country’s quest to attract investment, promote economic growth and national wealth creation within the context of the global economy,” reads part of the NDS1 document.
The policy of engagement and re-engagement is further cemented by efforts being done by ZIMAID. This is because giving aid to neighbours who are in need is not only living true to the spirit of Ubuntu, but also helping project the country’s image and social standing in a good way.
And it has to be done because: “Notably, countries increasingly depend on a good image, diplomacy and international standing in the competition for inward investments, tourist arrivals, favourable international trade relations and increased exports to support job creation and better living standards for citizens as envisaged in Vision 2030.”