Daily Archives: June 20, 2020

Zimbabwe Health Minister Detained on Corruption Charges

Zimbabwe’s health minister was released from police custody Saturday on about $600 bail after being arrested the day before on corruption charges related to the illegal procurement of COVID-19 medical equipment.

James Mutizwa, the attorney for Health Minister Obediah Moyo,  told journalists Saturday outside Magistrate Court in Harare, “Bail was granted. He is out on bail. No comment. Thank you.”

Moyo is facing three counts of criminal abuse of office as a public official in relation to the procurement of material worth $60 million to fight COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

Following the arrest, a doctors group said it was worried about the abuse of COVID-19 funds.

Dr. Nyika Mahachi, the president of Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians, said, “This is an unfortunate development. As an apolitical association, it is our interest in public health to ensure that resources that are allocated for COVID-19 response, health services or public services in general are used in a transparent and fair manner. … What we look forward to is a full understanding of the investigation of what really transpired to ensure that the culprits are brought to book, whoever they are.”

Since coming to power in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he is committed to fighting corruption, which was associated with senior officials of the government of his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe.

Information Ministry Secretary Nick Mangwana issued a statement Saturday saying, “The biggest mistake I can ever make as a public officer is to doubt President Mnangagwa’s commitment to fighting graft. He has made it clear to us that we are not immune from prosecution and nobody will be insulated from having their day in court.”

Moyo is expected back in court this month, when he could get a trial date.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

The World Prays for Migrants and Refugees

World Refugee Day is being observed Saturday with the aim of raising awareness of refugees throughout the world. In Italy, a special prayer vigil was held in Rome this week titled “Dying of Hope,” in memory of the thousands who lose their lives at sea, on their journeys in search of a better life in Europe.

Inside the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, many gathered to pray in memory of those who have drowned in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa and for those who continue to do so. Africans and Italians maintained social distancing inside the church as they prayed together.

The Secretary General of the Italian Bishops Conference, Monsignor Stefano Russo, addressed the congregation.

Monsignor Russo said, “We are with numerous friends who crossed the Mediterranean or arrived by land. Many among you have painfully lost friends and family members”.

The vigil was held in observance of World Refugee Day. Monsignor Russo called for the many foreigners, the “new Europeans” to be allowed to emerge from their invisible conditions.

He turned his thoughts to “those forced into overcrowded refugee camps, who see no way out,” to the Rohingya, to the camp of Moira in Lesbos, to the many who reach Tapachula, on the border with Mexico, to Syrians, in Lebanese camps. He called all these “places of pain” where even more than in the past there is a lack of food, clothes, tents and medical assistance.

The lockdown, he added, makes living conditions even worse with social distancing impossible and men, women and children with no access to water to wash and terrified of dying from coronavirus.

Marco Impagliazzo is a member of the Catholic Community of Sant’ Egidio who organized the vigil. He said it is essential that everyone, Africans and Europeans, deal with the pandemic on the African continent together.

Impagliazzo said that if this does not happen, there will be other long waves of migrant arrivals and the virus must help us understand that we must all row in the same direction.

More than 40,000 migrants are believed to have died in efforts to reach Europe via land or sea crossings since 1990.

 

 

Source: Voice of America