MBERENGWA – A Zimbabwean resident who wanted to give back to his community had his generosity thrown back at his face recently, when what is seemingly Zanu (PF) paranoia and red-tape saw him being pushed from pillar to post with his donation, intended for a local school and clinic.
In what should fly in the face of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s much-parroted claims of a “Second Republic”, the saga has tangled in a local MP, the local city council, a resident minister and the dreaded state security agency – the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Trouble began when Mberengwa South resident and losing MDC Alliance council candidate for local Ward 27, Thembinkosi Dube, tried to uplift under-resourced Gwai Clinic – a dilapidated structure operating without benches, bandages and or pain killers. Dube donated benches, chairs, mattresses and bandages to the clinic, but Zanu (PF)’s Mberengwa South Member of Parliament Alum Mpofu brewed a shocker when he allegedly ordered clinic staff to return all the donations to Dube’s rural home.
“Women in labour had to be off loaded onto the reed mats as the mattresses were hurriedly snatched and dumped at our home, where they are gathering dust in a spare room,” said Dube family spokesman and journalist, Sibanengi Dube.
“Bundles of unused bandages are rotting unutilised at home while my fellow villagers exchange used bandages. The clinic literally recycles bandages. Used bandages are washed and used again. We also donated benches and chairs for patients to sit on while awaiting treatment. Gwai Clinic patients, waiting for their turn to be treated sit on rocks and logs. We paid a local furniture maker, Daniel Chinyerere, to make and deliver benches and chairs, but he was turned away when he turned up to deliver the goods. Imagine!”
Dube claimed members of the CIO from Mataga Growth Point stormed the clinic and ordered nurses to return the donations or face unspecified punitive measures. A truck was hired to ferry the donations to Dube’s home.
“Attempts to snatch 800 exercise books and pens donated at the school failed after learners and parents ignored the directive,” added Dube. “The snatchers arrived at the school to order the surrender of books and pens, only to find children already writing on them. The local Zanu PF machinery is incensed with the donations because Thembinkosi contested in ward 27 to be a councillor on an MDC Alliance ticket.”
Apparently, Mberengwa district’s Chief Executive Officer, Milton Mambo, wrote to the donor Monday, distancing the council from the decision by MP Alum Mpofu to throw away the medical donations. He advised Dube to direct his donation to the Midlands Resident Minister, Larry Mavima.
“As a way forward, we suggest you now direct your donation to the Resident Minister of the Midlands Province in Gweru for a faster resolution on your donation,” said Mambo in his letter, revealing the CIO had become heavily involved in the matter, trying to block the donation.
“The state security organ has intervened and council has to follow its directives on donation,” said Mambo, who also accused Dube of not following the correct procedure, yet the donor had made written correspondence to the authorities as demanded by the red-tape.
“We are surprised to see an article in the social media to the effect that the donations had already reached the intended beneficiaries but had been sent back to you by the local MP for reasons council does not know,” said Mambo.
Dube however, maintains that he alerted the council in writing about his pending donation, via an official with the council known as Mrs Kativhu.
Dube apparently emailed Mrs Kativhu on February 21 announcing his decision to donate to both Gwai School and Gwai Clinic, where he was born in 1974. He requested guidance on procedures he had to follow to make the donation.
“In the year 1974 I was born at Gwai Clinic and went to Gwai Primary School for my primary education. As a thank you to the community which brought me up, I would like to say thank with donations to both the clinic and the school,” wrote Dube in his letter, to which Mrs Kativhu replied the following day.
Dube further held impromptu meetings with both MP Mpofu and local Chief, Micklot Dziva, to brief them about his gesture.
This week, Dube’s brother Sibanengi expressed dismay at the red-tape and political paranoia still expressed by Zanu (PF) in a cash-strapped country that needed every hand to try and make it work and improve service delivery.
“Why should we direct the bandages to Minister Mavima when people in urgent need of such a basic medical facility are here in Chingoma, Chavabuta and Mhokonye? Do we honestly have to meet a whole minister to persuade him to allow us to help our relatives, who have to contend with deplorable health service at Gwai Clinic where bandages are recycled?” asked Sibanengi, who also questioned what business the CIO had dipping their fingers in an innocent donation.
“A donation of bandages, beds and benches for use by patients can’t be classified as a state security issue even by a stretch of the wildest imagination. What exactly is the interest of these suited and dark-glassed guys?”
Mavima has seemingly not responded to incessant messages sent to him by the donors, in what could be an indication he was also for the blocking of the donation.