Mukudzei Chingwere in Victoria Falls
Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has officially opened the eighth Africa Public Service Day commemorations in Victoria Falls which are being held by Zimbabwe starting today up to Wednesday, with the event meant to honour the role played by civil servants.
Nine countries are expected to participate physically, with the rest following proceedings virtually in compliance with Covid-19 containment measures.
VP Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, delivered his keynote address virtually.
This year’s theme is, “Building the Africa we want through embracing an ethical culture that underpins purpose driven leadership in the context of crisis”.
The theme is significant in that it recognises the value of the public servants to communities.
“We should be our own champions and improve for improving the lives of our people,” said VP Chiwenga in his address. “Our conveyance here allows us to chat our own destiny.”
VP Chiwenga said the commemorations were being held virtually as a containment measure for controlling Covid-19, noting the need to reconfigure the services to communities to a digital practice.
He talked of the importance of remunerating the public service, saying in Zimbabwe the Government was addressing the workers’ concerns through social dialogue.
VP Chiwenga commended the public services system for minimising the impact of Covid-19 in the country, as well as their response to the Cyclone Idai disaster.
He urged the continent to, “take vaccination seriously”, avoid the misinformation of social media and follow the containment measures prescribed by health experts.
Zimbabwe has won global plaudits for the way it has handled the Covid-19 pandemic, with the World Health Organisation (WHO), China, Australia, South Africa and some countries in Europe praising the countries’ progress.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima implored the motivation of public servants to make them more effective.
He said, “they should be sufficiently remunerated” noting that, “a disgruntled workforce is less productive.”
The public service community across the continent has played a significant role in containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has ravaged the world.
The Ministry of Healthy and Child Care has mounted its response teams in the resort town to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, with testing of people and disinfection of places being heightened.
District Medical Officer for Victoria Falls Dr Fungayi Mvura said it was all systems go for the safe running of the conference.
“Our rapid response teams are on the ground and ready to attend to any eventuality,” she said. “We are testing all delegates, both local and foreign, and we are also continuously disinfecting the places.
“Those who will test positive will not be allowed in and will be taken to either quarantine or isolation and we will start the process of helping them to recuperate. For those coming for the Public Services Day, no one has tested positive.”
The day is marked on the African Union’s calendar after Ministers running the public services in 1994 agreed in Tangier, Morocco, that it should be held annually to recognise the contribution of the public servants to communities.
Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo welcomed the delegates to Zimbabwe and told them to enjoy the ambience of Victoria Falls city.