President Emmerson Mnangagwa was Thursday full of praise for oil mogul and advisor, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, whom he equated to the Biblical Peter after the latter had handed over to government, a fully equipped hospital he recently upgraded to a COVID-19 facility.
The business tycoon is major shareholder of Sakunda Holdings.
Tagwirei Thursday handed over the Rock Foundation Hospital, rechristened Arundel Hospital, to the government for use as a COVID-19 referral centre.
He also promised to pay 55 staff members at the medical facility for the next six months.
"I want you all to know that we accept with similar gratitude whatever you have brought but, of course, even Jesus had 12 disciples but we all know he had more favour towards Peter," Mnangagwa said at the handover ceremony at State House in Harare.
"I don't know the reason but maybe Peter quickly understood Jesus more than the others. I am saying so because I have a list of what Sakunda has done. And it's quite a lot in the volumes of the things that we need. I feel comfortable because we are now able to equip frontline workers in the Ministry of Health in terms of Personal Protective Equipment."
COVID-19 has claimed four lives in Zimbabwe from the 28 confirmed cases. There are also two recoveries.
"I did appeal, but if your conscience did not want to come forward to make a contribution towards fighting the pandemic, mitigation against the pandemic, I would do nothing about it. So my gratitude goes towards your personal or collective conscience towards your country," Mnangagwa said.
According to government, Arundel Hospital will be available to every Zimbabwean seeking COVID-19 treatment at no cost.
In response, Tagwirei said; "We pray that this gesture will assist in the fight and assure you of our continued support to the Government and the people of Zimbabwe at large in this dark hour.
"Sakunda Holdings and its associates came up with a private initiative to complement government efforts to curb this pandemic specifically in the provision of health facilities, equipment, training, and vaccines. The equipment being donated include PPEs (personal protective equipment), 15 emergency ventilators, 40 portable ventilators, 35 000 rapid testing kits, among others, all worth US$2.6 million."
Tagwirei has been under public scrutiny over how his company handled over US$3 billion received from the government for Command Agriculture. The matter is before parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
At the event, the Chinese embassy also donated 166 000 masks, 7 600 protective suits, 20 000 test kits, 12 000 pairs of gloves, and five ventilators.