The Sunday Mail
Rumbidzayi Zinyuke and Nyore Madziyanike
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has called for the speedy relocation of people who were displaced by Cyclone Idai to ensure that they return to a normal way of life.
Speaking during a tour of areas affected by Cyclone Idai in Manicaland province yesterday, the First Lady said the fact that some had volunteered to be moved would smoothen the process.
“The report has shown me that the people in Chimanimani have learnt and appreciated that they need to be relocated, which is very important. For us to start to persuade them to move would have been difficult.
“People have certain beliefs, they will tell you this and that. But now they have come forward themselves, I think we should quickly harness that and make sure that they are moved because this area is prone to these disasters.
“I understand that before the cyclone, we had earth tremors in Chimanimani, so this shows us that the area is prone,” she said, urging the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri to engage traditional leaders to explore how the ministry could help provide suitable land.
The First Lady, who also visited Chipinge District Hospital where some of the victims of the cyclone are being treated, thanked Zimbabweans for showing love and unity during such a difficult time.
“I want to thank Zimbabweans and the unity that they have shown. And yourselves here, there are so many departments which are here working hard. We should continue to work together to help our country. God should help us maintain this spirit of oneness, loving one another and being there for each other,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa implored communities to fight child marriages after meeting some teenagers who had given birth and others who were waiting to deliver at the hospital.
“When I got into the hospital, I was not happy to see children who wanted to be assisted to give birth . . . some of these children need help.
“Marrying off children or having an affair with under-age children should come to an end.”
While acknowledging that there were enough drugs at Chipinge District Hospital, she challenged the Ministry of Health and Child Care to spruce up the facility.
The Manicaland Civil Protection Unit — which gave a comprehensive breakdown of the monetary and non-monetary donations made by individuals, companies, civic organisations and other foreign governments — was commended for transparently handling donations that are being sent through to help victims of the cyclone.
“The report is so conspicuous, it’s very open and everyone can see there is nothing hidden there. “Just following it without even an explanation, it will lead you to what is happening currently and it shows where we are going.
“This also helps to give us a good face out there to the people who have extended a helping hand. We have people who have never even been to Zimbabwe from all over — the United Kingdom (and) America — they have given us help, but what they want to see is how we use the hand that they have given us. It is so embarrassing when people like that help us and their donations just disappear,” she said.
The First Lady was accompanied by Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo and Senate President Mabel Chinomona.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri thanked the First Lady for the donations she made through her charity, Angel of Hope Foundation.
She said the First Lady, as an Environment Ambassador, should help spread the message that climate change is real.
“It (the cyclone) tells us that climate change is real. The disarray in Chimanimani and Chipinge will always be a reminder that we need now to take seriously the issue of climate change,” she said.
Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba thanked the First Lady for visiting Chipinge to console the affected families.