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    Sunday, 28 January 2018

    Chiefs’ car scheme disgusts nation

    •    Pregnant women ferried to hospitals in wheelbarrows
    •    Police getting transport from complainants


    MASVINGO – The traditional leaders motor car scheme in which Government is supplying chiefs with 280 trendy cars (by Zimbabwean standards) at an estimated cost of $12m has caused immense anger among Zimbabweans; the worst since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power in November last year.
    Zimbabweans across the board using social media and other platforms have expressed disgust at Government for pampering chiefs with luxuries at a time when hospitals have no ambulances, Police stations have no vehicles and many critical Government departments are hamstrung by lack of transport.
    For once there is general consensus and one chorus on social media that Government's priorities are misplaced and pictures of pole and dagga schools, broken down ambulances and villagers ferried to hospitals in wheelbarrows are all over.
    President Mnangagwa issued out 52 double cab vehicles to chiefs last Saturday after meeting the traditional leaders in Gweru. He said the rest of the vehicles will be coming in batches.
    People questioned Government's motive in supplying luxury cars to the chief and the purpose of those cars.
    NPP spokesperson, Jeffreson Chitando said it is not wrong for chiefs to get cars but the timing is misplaced.
    "This shows that Mnangagwa is not considerate to Zimbabweans. The sick are being ferried to hospitals in wheelbarrows, there are no chalks in schools and Police officers are using public transport to go and arrest suspects.
    "We thought we now have Mnangagwa but we have gone back to Mugabe where chiefs are being bought so that they will frog-march villagers to polling stations. Chiefs must not think that Government likes them when it doesn't like their subjects. These are crocodile tears and it is a project to retain power," said Chitando.
    A senior hospital official who declined to be named said there are only 40% of the required ambulances in hospitals and most of them are either broken down or old hence the critical shortage of ambulance service. He said the situation was made worse by the fact that ambulances are also used as service cars; transporting patients' food, hospital staff, drugs and other material.
    "The ideal situation is for a hospital to have two ambulances on stand-by all the time but you rarely get this happening," said the medical doctor.
    He said many people who are involved in accidents die because either they fail to get ambulances or they are ferried by lay persons in vehicles that are not suitable for the injured.
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