By Leopold Munhende
SOME Zimbabweans have vowed to defy a government order for them to stay at home for a continuous 21 days insisting they depended on self-help projects which demanded their continued operating in order to survive.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday evening decreed a 21-day national lockdown coupled with strict measures in attempts to avert the further spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
Zimbabwe has recorded seven cases of the world pandemic inside a week as well as a single death.
Amid the lockdown anticipation Friday, NewZimbabwe.com took time to hear the sentiments of street vendors in Harare’s CBD about the work stoppage.
Some defiant vendors vowed they were not going to heed government’s call to stay at home.
Instead, the informal traders want government to provide them with hand sanitisers and face masks as it already does with condoms.
The traders said they were caught in a catch-22 situation in which they were to choose between adhering to the stay-away order and dying of hunger in the process or simply throw caution to the wind and continue with their daily activities.
“If they could provide us with condoms for free; they should also do that with the sanitisers,” a young male vendor at the Fourth Street bus rank said.
Another street vendor and a mother of seven said she and her children would die of hunger if she stayed at home.
“If I stay at home, I am going to die of hunger. If I continue coming to work, I will still die from the coronavirus. So it is still the same that I will die from hunger or the coronavirus,” she said.
“I survive on vending, what do you expect me to do with my children if you tell me to stay indoors? They (government) should assist us by giving us money to buy food or just give us the food, otherwise we will not heed that call.”
In his address Friday, President Mnangagwa vowed to use security forces to enforce the lockdown order.
Said the President: “Should it become necessary, security forces may be deployed to assist in the enforcement of these and other measures, and maintenance of order at these markets.
“Some of the measures will be very abrupt and are sure to upset our daily routines but they have to be taken.”
“No-one wants to die but coming here (on the streets) is just trying to make sure our families survive.”
Posted by New Zimbabwe.com on Friday, March 27, 2020