Mnangagwa differs with Muchinguri, urges empathy amid coronavirus menace

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By Mary Taruvinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has differed with his excitable defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who said Friday the coronavirus outbreak that has devastated China and parts of Europe was God’s curse on countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

In an address to the media at State House Tuesday, Mnangagwa said these were times for people to set aside their differences and fight the pandemic as one.

Mnangagwa said there were no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe yet.

“We are under no illusion that what befalls our global neighbours today may eventually hit us, also affect our communities tomorrow,” Mnangagwa said.

“We thus join hands with the rest of the world in tackling this pandemic collectively, even before it crosses our own border.

“Even developed health systems feel the strain, those fragile, developing economies are struggling to cope. The trans-border trajectory of the virus thus makes us all neighbours, turn us all into each other’s keepers.

“Above all it recommends global partnerships across old divides that may have set us apart. We now have to join hands against this global threat while acting in unison within our immediate national neighbourhood.”

Coronavirus has infected more than 150,000 people worldwide and killed almost 6,000 since it was first detected in China last December.

Muchinguri chided Western countries over the spread of the deadly virus adding that the lockdown imposed by the troubled nations served them right.

She said, “They are now staying indoors. Their economies are screaming just like they did to our economy.”

The minister is one of the individuals currently on US targeted sanctions.