In 2008, Zimbabwe’s Media, Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu blamed the UK government for the outbreak of cholera claiming that his country had been a victim of a “genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British”.
Ndlovu, who belongs to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party likened the appearance of cholera in Zimbabwe to a “serious biological chemical weapon” used by the British and described the epidemic as “a calculated, racist, terrorist attack on Zimbabwe”.
But Health and Child Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera, who belongs to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party on Tuesday, absolved the British government of any wrong doing in the latest outbreak of the typhoid epidemic that has seen about 2000 people seeking treatment at local hospital in Harare.
Madzorera blamed the collapse of the country’s public health infrastructure for the outbreak of the disease.
“No. It’s not. We know the causes if typhoid and cholera. We owe it to ourselves to remedy these diseases,” said Madzorera in response to a question by fielded by a journalist at a press conference held in the capital on Tuesday.
Typhoid first broke out in Harare’s high density suburbs of Mabvuku and Tafara both of which had suffered chronic piped water supply shortages. The outbreak then spread to other suburbs such as Dzivarasekwa and Kuwadzana among other suburbs where more than 1 500 cases have been seen and treated by health officials.
Madzorera said an average of 30 to 50 cases of typhoid fever was being reported on a daily basis.
President Robert Mugabe’s government routinely blames western governments for the country’s ills. It currently blames targeted travel restrictions imposed on Mugabe and his lieutenants for the collapse of the once vibrant economy and the health delivery system.
But critics blame Mugabe for his ruinous economic and political policies for wrecking the former bread basket of southern Africa.