By Staff Reporter
KWEKWE: Mbizo legislator, Settlement Chikwinya has said although he supported the government-imposed national lockdown meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, its implementation without safety nets for the vulnerable, created an environment for starving citizens to engage in crime.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, the legislator said for a highly informalised economy like that of Zimbabwe, the abrupt cutting of informal trading has had negative effects on the livelihoods, especially among the vulnerable and created a hotbed of criminal activity.
“Though I am yet to get reports from the police about the issue of crime, it is highly likely that during this period, criminal activity will be very high,” said the MDC lawmaker.
“The bottom-line is while the lockdown was necessary, no safety nets to cushion the vulnerable had been put in place and moreso, the abrupt cut on informal trading meant a lot of people became exposed.”
Chikwinya said the situation in local communities would be made worse by the influx of over 5 000 pardoned prisoners who were recently released following a presidential amnesty.
“That coupled with the recent release of prisoners on amnesty grounds means the community is even highly exposed to criminal activity with a special focus on burglary in order to access food,” he said.
There have been a number of break-in incidences in Kwekwe since the start of the national lockdown and the simultaneous release of pardoned prisoners.
Speaking during a recent Kwekwe District Taskforce on COVID-19 meeting, the Officer Commanding Police in Kwekwe District, Chief Superintendent Conrad Mubaiwa confirmed the increase in crime related cases.
“We have had cases of break-ins at Mbizo 4 Shopping Centre where thieves broke into several shops and looted groceries and other valuable goods, and investigations are still ongoing,” he said.