Covid19: Govt tightens security… critics say move is meant to thwart July 31 protests

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Information ministry secretary Nick Mangwana

The Zimbabwe government has tightened covid-19 lockdown regulations amid reports that only essential services are allowed into Central Business districts (CBD).

This comes at a time when a crackdown has been launched to hjnt down and arrest plotters of the July 31 protests.

On Monday Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono were arrested and charged for inciting public violence as they “urged citizens to protest on July 31.”

However, Information secretary Nick Mangwana said the recent spike in covid-19 local transmission cases and triple digits numbers being recorded on daily basis have necessitated the tightening of security.

“Yesterday, 133 positive cases were registered. There are some cases of deaths which are awaiting test results on whether Covid-19 was the cause. Security is being tightened to ensure only essential services can be allowed through to CBDs. We apologies for any inconveniences,” tweeted Mangwana.

In Sunday’s update, the Ministry of Health and Child Care indicated that local transmissions of Covid-19 rose sharply after 116 cases were recorded, with 22 being contacts of known confirmed cases, the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Investigations are now underway to establish the source of infection for the other 94 cases.

The cases are increasing at a time when a number of corporate companies including OK Zimbabwe, PSMAS, CIMAS, NMB Bank and Star Africa were forced to close some of their branches after  reports of employees testing positive to the global pandemic.

Critics, however, say the tightening of security is meant to thwart the July 31 protests.

“Government is now using the pandemic to thwart the July 31 protests,” said one critic who is a member of the opposition.

“Why are they arresting people. Why are they harassing activists. I think the people will not listen to them.”

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