BULAWAYO pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu says the current Covid-19 lockdown measures recently announced will not achieve desired results because of government’s elitist approach to the situation.
Health minister and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga last week imposed a 30-day lockdown to try and slow down renewed surge in Covid-19 infections in the country.
Coupled with the lockdown was a 12-hour dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Other measures include a ban on the operations of informal traders, bottles stores, restaurants as well as intercity passenger transport.
Some formal businesses, hotels and air travel were spared from the embargo.
However, reacting to the measures, Mbuso Fuzwayo, secretary of the pro-Matabeleland pressure group said the lockdown was “very elitist in that it punishes ordinary and poor people while allowing the rich to proceed with their lives as they normally do”.
“We shockingly note that the restaurants, bars and small medium business owned by ordinary men and women are banned yet those that are rich who can afford hotels are privileged to still enjoy these services.
“Besides destroying the livelihoods of already struggling poor Zimbabweans, the lockdown is an insult in that it is saying the poor and their small businesses and way of life are responsible for the spreading of the pandemic,” he said.
The activist also blamed government for failing to conduct tests for Covid-19 among citizens.
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“We are concerned that up to this day, no mass testing has been done to the ordinary people of this country except those that are showing symptoms mostly in urban centres and those who can afford to pay the exorbitant prices for the test.
“We are deeply concerned that given the inadequate tests, the statistics that the government is giving the nation may not be a true reflection of the situation on the ground, which is an underestimation of the tragedy, putting the lives of the ordinary people at risk,” he said.
Fuzwayo also accused the government of concentrating on punishing lockdown violators while doing nothing to improve the country’s health delivery system.
“The poor people are clearly on their own, abandoned. It is disheartening to note that up to now Covid-19 referral centres around the country are yet to be completed and fully equipped.
“The government seems to be more concerned with punishing those that violate Covid-19 regulations than curbing the spread.
“Besides immense human rights violations that are taking place during the enforcement of the lockdown, police stations where the alleged offenders are taken to, do not observe the recommended Covid-19 preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus by always wearing masks covering the nose and mouth, practising social distancing, thoroughly and frequently washing hands with soap and water,” observed Fuzwayo.