Is Zimbabwe developing a coronavirus vaccine?


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*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  In short, Hon. Sen. Hungwe’s question in short is ‘what are we doing in the face of this pandemic’?

Firstly, we said that our front, masking, our social distancing, sanitising and washing hands.  This took us somewhere.  Our second phase is that we get vaccinations or medicines.  When the Chancellor of the State Universities, His Excellence Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa said heritage based education, he meant that we should look at what we have in this country.  In support of that, the medicines that we know are our herbs – whatever they are doing anywhere, the medicines are coming from herbs.  We know that when we go to Gokwe, Chipinge, Hwange and when we are coming from Hwange to Chipinge; when you get there, you would eat the soil there.  Those are the vaccines.

Because of that, we are busy doing our research on medicines and we are also bringing scientists and doctors so that they come up with a vaccine.  It is very important for a country to be able to protect itself from hunger, diseases, poverty and any other challenges.  All this can be done through research.  I am promising you that we are not going to be 100% successful – that is why it is called a research but keep watching, you will see it. This country is going to succeed and move forward. This will only come from one thing, which is the desire to go forward. That is what we are doing. I cannot say everything in this House but something is going on. Today, I have seen that one of our universities in Mutare, Africa University, has come up with zumbani cough drops. There are a lot of things that we are doing with zumbani. Just keep watching. I cannot get into detail but something is coming.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Madam President my question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.  From what he is doing on COVID vaccines, are there other plans for them to come up with pre and post emergency chemicals which are used in farming because herbicides are a challenge.  Our crops are not growing because of weeds.

*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you Madam President for the question that has been asked by Senator Tongogara. Our education should be practical.  For one to be called an educated person, it is to be skilled in a certain area but not that you are educated and you cannot do practical things.  I want to talk about all the work that is being done, including coming up with the herbicides.  We have a very good plan for us.  There is what we call armyworm; we have come up with an insecticide which we made from indigenous trees.  We did this with the innovation hub of the University of Zimbabwe and we have tried it on 400 hectares which the University of Zimbabwe has ploughed.  The insecticide that we used, we came up with it at the University of Zimbabwe. So, we are looking that with time we are going to channel it through our laboratories into the factories.

On the 4th of December, 2020, His Excellency President Mnangagwa opened the first factory at the University of Zimbabwe. That is where we are going to put factories that are making those insecticides.  The insecticides that we are making these days are environmental friendly that is why we are making them from our indigenous trees.  So, in short, let us say it is still in the pipeline.  We do not win all the time but we do it, we will come up with something.  This one for armyworm we have it but for the weeds we are also looking at it.  Our wish is that we should not import food, we should do all our things and import luxury things.  For a country to go on we cannot rely on imports.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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