By Stephen Tsamba
THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has described Statutory Instruments (SIs) introduced by the government as “restrictive, punitive and punishment centred”.
In the fifth edition of its bi-monthly Covid-19 accountability tracker, the ZPP said, SI 77 of 2020, was largely restrictive and punitive and that the instrument places more emphasis on what is not allowed rather than the wellbeing of citizens.
“The Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020, which was established to prevent, contain and treat Covid-19, the Public Health order, is largely restrictive and punitive. The instrument pays more emphasis on what is not allowed and punishment thereof and little on the promotion of citizens’ wellbeing,” it said.
The ZPP added; “The emergence of the third wave and complex variants requires that government integrates policies and practices that protect its citizens from exposure and threat to life.”
It says that even though the restrictions have been relaxed, commuters still had difficulties in travelling as some private passenger transporters remain banned.
Commuters are now hiking private cars exposing them to crimes such as robbery or rape.
“In a country where the majority of the citizens are not formally employed and rely on informal trading and vending to make ends meet, and where there is a large number of child-headed or orphaned families, social safety nets in Zimbabwe are not quite transparent and readily available to those who are deserving.
“This disparity has inevitably caused a blatant disregard to Covid-19 regulations as the consensus is that making ends meet to feed the family is higher on their priority list…”.
According to the ZPP, “Cramped living spaces, money problems and worries, inadequate public transportation as well as health issues have led to increasing sexual and physical violence especially against women and children”.
It also said contraceptives were being sold in US dollars which most women to do not have access to and children bear the brunt of tough economic conditions as parents are taking out their frustrations on them.
Affected as well by the restrictions are those with disabilities and those in prisons or detention centres.
“Vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe remain at the tail end of support, where persons with disabilities are in some instances unable to work, they have received little to no support from the government.
“When they try to make a little income by vending on the streets their goods and wares may be confiscated by the authorities for vending in non-designated areas.”