Opposition Leader Elisabeth Valerio Says Acquisition Of Air Ambulances Commendable4 months ago
The leader of the opposition United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) party, Elisabeth Valerio, says there is nothing wrong with the Government buying air ambulances to capacitate the country’s health delivery system.
This comes after 18 out of 32 helicopters purchased from Russia were officially handed over to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at RGM International Airport in Harare on Thursday.
Twelve of the choppers were designated as air ambulances and six were assigned to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
The helicopters were reportedly delivered at a cost of US$10 million each, but some reports claim that the true value of each plane is US$2.5 million.
Valerio told Pindula News that UZA does not have sufficient information on the cost of the planes but be that as it may, the acquisition of the helicopters is commendable as long as they are used for the intended purpose. She said:
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We as a political party, and the public in general do not have sufficient information to assess the terms or cost-benefit analysis of this specific acquisition.
We do not see any problem with the acquisition of the helicopters as long as they are being used for their intended purpose.
The purchase of these helicopters on the surface complements the Sendai Framework for disaster reduction.
If it is good for the country, UZA has no reason to be in opposition to the development. The main concern we would have is around how this acquisition is being funded and how our country is paying for the helicopters.
In all developments, we as UZA are concerned about whether it is in the best interests of Zimbabweans and their national health service, and how that determination was made – or whether in truth the decision was driven by political or personal interests.
We also are skeptical, given the nature of such contracts, about whether this partnership is designed to support our woefully mismanaged rural healthcare system or is in fact targeted at medivac services for the political elite and wealthy at the expense of the majority of Zimbabweans.
The government of Zimbabwe should also prioritise service delivery, especially in the health sector for all citizens.
As a nation, we need to know our priorities and stop prioritising the politics of the day at the expense of the majority.
It is our fervent hope that the newly acquired helicopters will be used for the benefit of the citizens.
There is not much that we as UZA can do about this purchase now that the helicopters are already here.