PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday warned against those bent on looting donations mobilised for Cyclone Idai victims, saying the long arm of the law would catch up with them.
Addressing a roundtable stakeholders’ engagement meeting at State House, Mnangagwa also pleaded with captains of industry to help in the restoration of infrastructure destroyed by the storm, especially in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.
“I am also appealing to our people that we need respect among the communities,” he said.
“Those who are displaced in some places, the elderly lost their young ones and in some places the elders were washed away and the children remained, so we are saying we need to respect the vulnerable.
“The girl child, the women should be protected in these places. My administration is very tough on that, those who may want to abuse the vulnerable will find the hand of the State (coming down) very hard on them.”
Mnangagwa thanked those that have provided aid to the affected areas, saying his government was appealing for $614 million to effectively deal with the effects of the cyclone.
“It is possible that this incident might come again, we never know whether we might have the worst in future, but we must be prepared. This is a big lesson for us,” Mnangagwa said.
He said there was need to minimise the loss of lives by promoting education around disaster management.
“We will do our best to restore normalcy to these communities. It is my view that in incidences like this, we should all put aside our differences, our quarrels and together do our best to assist. This is why I went there with 17 of my other presidents,” Mnangagwa said.
“I think this was great for this country. We were able to rise above petty differences to share and support each other in dealing with this grief. This is why I called you that as industry and commerce what can we do. I have no answer, but I felt that my role with my team is to call you and tell you the challenges which we are facing and hope that those among you who may feel compassionate can interrogate themselves and say what shall we do and through my committee chaired by (Local Government) Minister (July) Moyo you should be able to indicate what you will do.”
He added: “As government, we are going to do a lot. We may divert some resources from other things because we think it is necessary that we normalise the lives of these communities (so that they) feel that they are party of Zimbabwe and are not neglected.”
Several corporates and church organisations pledged to rehabilitate various infrastructure, with the Zaoga church pledging to rehabilitate Ngangu Primary School in Chimanimani. The Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe said it will rehabilitate schools in Mutare district and further implement a feeding scheme at affected schools.
Spar Zimbabwe pledged to sponsor 500 schoolchildren into boarding schools, while Turnall pledged roofing material, Proplastics pledged $50 000 and materials for 25 boreholes, while the CEO Roundtable said it will adopt a primary school for rehabilitation. Doves said it will adopt four schools in the affected area, while others came through with different pledges.