Chidamba, councillor for Mazowe 25 who was representing the local Headman, shocked delegates who had gathered at Howard Mission here to witness the signing ceremony of the US$5.2 million gesture. The multi-donor pooled fund is aimed at reducing high rates of maternal and child mortality by increasing access to health care for women and children through the abolishment of user fees and improved access to comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care.
“In our tradition after receiving a donation like this one we are obliged to acknowledge receiving by giving a token of appreciation, but in this case we have nothing to thank you for because you placed us under sanctions,” he said. “I want it to be known that Zimbabwe does not need your assistance because we are a rich nation and we have an educated population.”
“How can we utilise the help when we are under sanction? You should lift sanctions first before giving us any assistance,” he said giving vote of thanks to mark the end of the event.
These remarks angered the EU Ambassador who responded:
“There are no sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe from the EU. There are targeted measures on individuals…There are no consequences on the people of Zimbabwe except those who are on the list of our restrictive measures. I repeat on the contrary, since 2009 the EU has provided US$1 billion dollars to the people of Zimbabwe in the form of aid and this is an evidence that we are not enemies to the people of Zimbabwe, ” Ambassador Dell Arricia said.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera said the councillor’s utterances were misguided.
“It was in extreme bad taste, misplaced and a result of ignorance of what we are trying to do. Here we are trying to re-build healthcare, which does not know party politics, it does not know colour. If you get bitten by a snake today the anti-snake venom we are going to use does not know which political party you belong to. If we do not have it you will die and if we have it you will survive, “said Madzorera.
EU which continues to review sanctions it imposed on more than 200 senior Zanu (PF) officials in 2002 on allegations of vote rigging, human and property rights abuse insists that it will channel humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe after the country has a credible government.