Veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle want the government to prioritise them when the Covid-19 vaccine rollout starts, Business Times can report.
The government is expecting to take delivery of the vaccines procured under a global initiative known as Covax, which is led by the World Health Organisation.
It is understood that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is finalising the country’s vaccine deployment ahead of the vaccine’s arrival in Harare.
“We know that the country is going through a difficult time in trying to control the pandemic of Covid.
It is happy news to hear from the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) that the country will start to import the Covid-19 vaccine into the country,” said Andy Mhlanga, a senior member of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
“Once the programme begins, we hope the war veterans will not be left behind in the vaccine programme as we have seen happening in other national programmes in the past.”
Mhlanga said the majority of the war veterans were victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. Zimbabwe has reported more than 31 000 cases of Covid-19 and 1 000 deaths.
Mhlanga said the war veterans risked perishing as a group as most of them were of advanced age.
Some leading war veterans including Perrance Shiri, Sibusiso Moyo, Paradzai Zimondi, Ellen Gwaradzimba have all succumbed to Covid-19.
War veterans have in the past demanded medical treatment at private hospitals outside the country and pensions that are at par with the lowest-paid civil servant, honorary degrees, diplomatic passports, tax exemptions and reserved seats in Parliament.