By Mary Taruvinga
MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa has strongly condemned the “suicidal” and “selective” government decision to reintroduce another strict 30-day lockdown restrictions to halt the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga last Saturday announced to the media his government had resolved to reintroduce stricter lockdown measures as cases of new Covid-19 infections and deaths continue to surge across the country.
The decision, which will result in a dusk to dawn curfew and the closure of all informal trading and most formal businesses, comes into effect Tuesday.
On Sunday, new Covid-19 cases rose to 774 from Saturday’s 407, recording an all-time high since Covid-19 was first recorded in the country in March last year.
However, Chamisa argues the reinstated measures are discriminatory as they favour and protect only the elite yet the pandemic is affecting everyone.
“The application of rules must be fair and non-selective because the virus does not select on the basis of status, class or political affiliation,” said Chamisa in a statement.
“Rules are effective not only when they apply to others, but when (also) applied to those who make them. Commanding the closure of the economy without the necessary support, economic relief, medical social measures is suicidal.
“They (government) forget that 80% of our economy is informal which means a lockdown without complementary support system will lose traction. Faced with starvation, people will be forced to breach the lockdown rules, posing more risk to themselves and others,” the embattled opposition leader, who saw over 30 MPs and dozens of councillors from his camp being recalled from the public offices last year, said.
To protect the affected citizens, Chamisa recommended an economic and social safety net to support workers and businesses affected during the 30-day lockdown.
Chamisa said there is a clear pattern emerging in Zimbabwe in the way rules are crafted and enforced in the country where the principal target is the poor people while the rich are allowed a free pass.
“Breaches committed in Borrowdale (Harare) by the elite must be met with the same force as breaches in Mbare (Harare) by the ghetto youths. What is the rationale for closing land ports while keeping open airports?
“It appears elitist as air travel is limited to a few with means while the majority who use road transport are locked in,” he said strongly condemning the government’s lockdown decision.