AN emerging human rights lobby group is mobilising resources in order to mount class action against government’s forced Covid-19 vaccination exercise, which has seen rural folk being chased away from their homesteads for resisting jabs.
By James Muonwa
Chiefs and headmen, in a bid to please President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration which has taken a stance in support of compulsory inoculation, are reportedly embarking on door-to-door campaigns weeding out unvaccinated inhabitants.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Truth, Health, Justice and Freedom (ZLTHJF) is a coalition of like-minded legal practitioners recently assembled to provide free legal services to those in need, such as evicted villagers, tenants in rented accomodation, workers and church congregants.
Said ZLTHJF founder, Obert Kondongwe, “The demand is huge and we are getting a bit overwhelmed because there is a whole lot that is happening across the nation in relation to forced vaccinations.
“There are cases of people that are being banished from villages by headmen and Chiefs for not getting vaccinated, girls being evicted from hostels, and of course that UZ (University of Zimbabwe) and Bindura (University of Science Education) have taken a stance against students not yet vaccinated.”
He added, “Companies nationwide have issued ultimatums for employees. And of course, the biggest one which we are most interested in are the churches where we have that proclamation by Cabinet that was exclusive. Others are facing arrests for congregating unvaccinated people. The demand is too much, we are trying to keep pace but its overwhelming.”
Kondongwe said his organisation was fighting for the observance of the rule of law and promoting constitutionalism.
“There is no law obliging compulsory vaccination at the moment. We all know that vaccination is voluntary, so noone should be discriminated on the basis that they don’t want to get vaccinated.
“For government to come out and say that churches must only allow vaccinated congregants is unlawful because there is no law of general application that addresses that issue.”
The lobby group’s founder reiterated employers forcing their workers to get jabbed or risk being laid off were acting unlawfully.
“What we are saying is if this is voluntary, employers must not take it upon themselves to force employees. The rights and freedoms in the Constitution are supreme, including freedom of conscience, dignity and the likes.
“We cannot force someone to get vaccination which we are calling a scientific experiment.”
In a bid to reach all corners of the country, ZLTHJF is appealing to partners, sponsors and well-wishers to fight the cause of victimised citizens.
“So far our voices have not been heard in many places but we are trying by all means to get the message out there and assist as many people as we can, which is why we are looking for partners and those willing to lend a helping hand insofar as finances and resources are concerned.”
“All those churches and employees facing arrest for congregating at church without taking this experimental vaccine or if you are threatened with disciplinary action or having your contract of employment terminated, please come for free legal help,” said Kondongwe.