…but receives grand welcome from bussed supporters
However, the grand welcome has sparked controversy and public outrage, particularly in light of the current healthcare crisis in the country.
Prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, known as @daddyhope on Twitter, criticized the government’s decision to hire buses to transport citizens to the airport for the President’s welcome. He contrasted this with the dire state of Zimbabwe’s healthcare system, highlighting that the country’s largest hospital is currently without running water34.
Chin’ono tweeted, “The biggest hospital in Zimbabwe doesn’t have running water this week… Yet there is money to hire buses to bus Zimbabwean citizens to the airport to welcome President Mnangagwa from his United Nations trip!”3.
In his tweet, Hopewell Chin’ono also drew comparisons with other countries, highlighting the absurdity of the situation. He wrote, “Imagine South Africans going in buses from Soweto to welcome President Ramaphosa from his trips at Waterkloof Air Force Base, or Americans being bussed to welcome Joe Biden from his trips at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.”
This quote underscores Chin’ono’s critique of the government’s decision to bus citizens to the airport for President Mnangagwa’s welcome, suggesting that such a practice is not common in other countries. The comparison serves to further highlight the perceived misallocation of resources in Zimbabwe.
Public reaction to the event has been largely negative. Many echo Chin’ono’s sentiments, questioning why such resources are being used for a ceremonial welcome when the country’s healthcare system is in dire straits56. The current state of Zimbabwe’s healthcare system is indeed alarming. The largest hospital in the country is reportedly without running water this week6, and it only has one functioning maternity theatre3.
This event underscores the ongoing tension between public expectations and government actions in Zimbabwe. As President Mnangagwa continues his term following his recent return from the United Nations12, many citizens are calling for a shift in priorities towards addressing urgent domestic issues such as healthcare3456.