The last word you would use to describe Zimbabwe’s health systems is strong and yet that is the word Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube used in an interview with international media last year. This is despite the fact that most people cannot afford treatment with most hospitals already full or charging a fortune.

Nurses and doctors have been on multiple strikes and one of the reasons besides fair remuneration has been the lack of basic medical supplies including proctive equipment. Some nurses say they have to spent as much as 12 hours per day wearing the same face mask. Nurses are also said to be wearing bakery aprons as they combat the pandemic. The Finance Minister’s response to this is we are OK!

Like every health system around the world Covid has put a lot of strain,” said We continue to acquire more PPE, we never say we have sufficient, we are doing OK. Prevention is the best medicine.

Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s finance minister speaking to Bloomberg last week

It is outrageous for the Finance MInister to be using just an adjective to describe the Zimbabwean situation. He has failed to provide much needed basic support to people who the government has ordered to stay home. The last time he mentioned support he boasted that he had a sophisticated method that would be used. Almost a year later no one has received that money despite more than half of the population living in poverty far more than when he took over as Finance Minister.

Like all the elites, the minister’s language and attitude shows how out of touch he is with the plight of the common man. Common men work in the informal sector. Common men are struggling to feed their families without violating lockdown provisions. Common men are not OK as they live in constant fear of the virus. If they or their loved on catch they will not be able to afford getting tested let alone getting treated.

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