The death of 24-year-old Ian Mutambo, the Biomedical Scientist, in a public passenger vehicle while ferrying COVID-19 samples, perhaps brings to the fore the wise saying: Not all that glitters is Gold.

Indeed, no matter how magnificent an event might be, there is some imperfection somewhere, knowingly or unknowingly. This also brings into play the wise saying that: “Every dark cloud has some silver lining”.

In the past month or so following the spread of coronavirus to Zambia, after the outbreak of the infection in China in December last year, Ndeke House in Lusaka, has attracted a fair share of television cameras than any other public event in Zambia.

For the less schooled in public office location, Ndeke House is the bedroom of the Ministry of Health where Dr. Chitalu Chilufya is the minister.

For an hour or two of every day, Dr. Chilufya has been the hero of the action movie called Coronavirus Update holding all Zambia with subscribed decoders and those with Android or smartphones glued.

“President Edgar Lungu is committed to the health security of the nation,” Dr. Chilufya would start

The cameramen and women would click their cameras as though they were the last shots of their career and business heavyweights with briefcases full of financial pledges towards cleaning up Zambia to end coronavirus, if wishes were horses, would follow.

“We are donating hand sanitisers, soaps, face masks, personal preventative equipment worth thousands of Kwacha,” the business tycoons would respectively announce to the applause of attendees and probably the television viewers.

Then the usual cooperating partners would open their ‘wallets’. In the current fight against coronavirus, The World Bank has made 57.60 million dollars available under its rapid response facility. The bilateral and multilateral partners have also donated 2.7 billion kwacha to Zambia as covid-19 relief support.

The 2.7 billion kwacha will among other things supplement government’s social cash transfer budget, procure medical equipment and enhance government’s response to the pandemic. The partners include United States of America, United Kingdom, World Bank and the African Development Bank.

Like his health counterpart, Dr. Chilufya, Finance Minister Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu has pledged to utilize the funds prudently. With such heft pledges, a Resident Doctor Association fighting for protective clothing for its members who are front-liners in the fight against coronavirus is seen as a good for nothing trouble maker organisation.

Who would dispute this when receivers of cash and other donations assure fair distribution of   alms to needy areas of the fight against coronavirus.

Then boom! A biomedical scientist dies in a public passenger vehicle transporting COVID-19 samples to a thousand kilometres testing centre away from his station thereby bringing to the fore that there is reality after cameras are switched off at Ndeke House.

Ian Mutambo has been deprived of his expected life but probably leaves an accountability fight in efforts against the spread of coronavirus.

Therefore, is it asking too much to demand that when the cameras are switched off at Ndeke House, the recipients of gifts demand they are switched on during the journey to the end beneficiaries?

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