Trust Fund, Not ED Should Be In Charge Of Covid-19 Resources – Ex-Minister

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa should not be involved in the handling of coronavirus resources but should put in place measures to establish an independent Covid-19 National Trust Fund to manage resources, a former government minister has advised.

The proposal was made by Gorden Moyo, a former Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals during the now-defunct inclusive government.

He is now a senior lecturer at Lupane State University and the director of the Public Policy and Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ).

In an interview with this week, Moyo said Mnangagwa must stop receiving donations at State House and instead channel them to an independent Covid-19 National Trust Fund to guarantee transparency.

“The Fund should consist of men and women of integrity who will fundraise, receive, allocate, distribute, and report on all donations fairly, equitably, and urgently,” he said.

Moyo said the coronavirus pandemic has already upended the public health care system, eroded livelihoods of millions of people, and crashed economic headwinds across the country and it will not end soon.

“Realising that when the Covid-19 virus landed on the shores of Zimbabwe, the country was already sinking under the weight of its worst economic turmoil since 2008,” he said.

“Whereas the government of Zimbabwe is bankrupt and unable to contain the coronavirus pathogens from its own sources, appreciating the huge financial succor and humanitarian aid, donations, contributions and grants made by philanthropists, embassies, international agencies, faith-based organisations, and business as well as the Chinese coronavirus diplomacy.”

The independent Covid-19 National Trust Fund will assist to distribute, and report on all donations fairly, equitably, and urgently.”

He said the Trust Fund would help Mnangagwa’s government in accounting for all donations.

“We are appalled by the alleged reports that some of the Covid-19 resources donated to the government are diverted to the private charity organisations,” Moyo said.

“And we are concerned by the weaponisation of the coronavirus by some State authorities who distribute the Covid-19 resources only to their bases leaving the rest of the medical professionals across the country exposed to the deadly virus.”

Moyo pointed out that PPRIZ had recognised the weak public finance management systems, accountability, transparency, and monitoring of Covid-19 resources.

State corruption and illicit financial flows, he added, are stock-in-trade in the Mnangagwa administration.

“The President of Zimbabwe who has declared zero tolerance to corruption, who has touted his administration as a listening government, who has campaigned under the slogan ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and who has rebranded his regime as the ‘Second Republic’ is called upon to stop receiving donations at State House and instead establish an independent Covid-19 National Trust Fund,” he said.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country in March, individuals, corporate world regional, international organisations, and traditional donor countries have been assisting Zimbabwe with cash and resources to fight the spread of the pandemic.