Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe defence minister, has come under criticism following a statement in which she claimed that China invented the deadly COVID-19 infection in an aftermath of "botched experiments."
The minister had in a tearful interview on Friday, January 15, made the controversial claim while mourning a fellow minister who died as a result of COVID-19 complications.
Muchinguri, who is also head of Zimbabwe’s cabinet task force on COVID-19, had further said in a now-viral publication that the pandemic is decimating the southern African nation.
While solidifying his conspiracy theory on China behind the deadly virus which has killed thousand globally, the minister also vowed not to take the COVID-19 vaccine unless it is produced in Zimbabwe.
“Isn’t it that there is another serious upsurge of COVID-19 cases in China? It’s them who had botched experiments. Now that’s killing us. They can’t reverse it anymore. Look at where the people we call friends have taken us to," she said.
Her interview has now angered many, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration already saying her claim did not represent the position of the government.
Zhao Baogang, deputy Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, on Sunday, January 17, also said the embassy would only comment on the accusations by the minister in the coming week after reaching Beijing, describing it as “sensitive issue.”
In the same vein, Calvin Fambirai who is the executive director for the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has described the minister's statement as "reckless utterances."
Meanwhile, as the world takes a long leap towards ending the coronavirus crisis, the Gates Foundation has added another $70 million funding for the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.
The donation was made on Thursday, November 12, by the foundation which said it is hoping more donors will follow suit.
Gates Foundation, in a statement by its co-chair Melinda Gates, said $50 million (N19 billion) will go to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) led by the GAVI vaccine alliance.
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