The newly introduced RTGS dollar, if allocated efficiently, could have saved a lot of money. By the time government comprehends just how much the destroyed schools, bridges, roads, government buildings and homes will cost to replace, one will appreciate that investing in a viable budget for the CPU is imperative.
By November last year, the CPU had already exhausted its mere $3m budget in dealing with the cholera outbreak that killed at least 47 people, 70 bus accidents and a spate of fires that destroyed property in the country’s major cities. At the time, the unit said they needed at least $10m. However, in the 2019 budget, the CPU got just under $2.4m.
Nevertheless, this money should have been spent on effective early-warning systems and coordinated evacuation plans.
One thing remains certain: the general public feels let down by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
This situation created an opportunity for grandstanding by opposition parties. MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa seized the moment when he personally went to help the stranded. Social media was awash with pictures of him hard at work in the mud.
According to his spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda, “The president, advocate Nelson Chamisa, spent hours on the trail of Cyclone Idai. Given [the] areas covered, he has the widest understanding of the situation, [more] than anyone else. He is encouraged by the people’s spirit and [is] in mourning for the victims.”
Already facing a backlash for “misplaced priorities”, President Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga only made the trip to affected areas on Tuesday. Some expected him to be the early bird at the scene after he aborted his state visit to the United Arab Emirates to be “with his people”, but on Monday he was swearing at the minister of state for Harare, Oliver Chidawu, when the situation deteriorated in Chimanimani.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans from all walks of life have been crowd-sourcing relief aid to complement efforts by donor organisations.
The ministry of finance has since disbursed $50m for emergency and infrastructure restoration – yet in the allocation of this budget, disaster management was only given 4.2% of the total amount.- TimesLive