Lockdown: Govt makes concessions as hunger stalks country

  • Lockdown period extended
  • Hunger pervades country
  • Mining and manufacturing sector set to resume operations

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa was compelled to bite the bullet on Sunday, extending the COVID-19 induced lockdown period by a further fourteen days from the initial 21 decreed by goverment on March 30.

In making the announcement, Mnangagwa, bemoaned escalating cases of the pandemic on both the global and national platforms, rendering it hard for the country to revert back to the pre-COVID-19 era.

The President made it clear in his televised address
that the country had so far failed to meet many of the six World Health Organisation (WHO)’s guidelines, among them increased testing and clearly defined paths towards reduction of coronavirus-related fatalities.

“The country is yet to reach conditions for lifting the lockdown as prescribed by WHO.

“Infections should first be under control in order for us to consider lifting the lockdown.

“Guided by this reality, goverment decided to extend the lockdown by 14 days,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa’s announcement demonstrated a clear balancing act between an economy already in the woods and the sanctity of human life.

He made a raft of changes on the economic front as he carefully lifted COVID-19 restrictions on the mining and manufacturing sectors.

“The mining sector will resume work but must observe the set guidelines, with screening and testing having to be carried out before resumption of operations.

“Workers in the sector must also remain at work stations during the lockdown period,” said the President in his live broadcast speech.

Mnangagwa also waived restrictions on the informal and formal manufacturing sectors.

“The manufacturing sector (both the informal and formal) shall resume operations but under under strict supervision,” he said.

Turning to social safety nets, Mnangagwa said goverment would ensure that Zimbabweans did not starve.

“The social services department has started work, with food aid being given to vulnerable groups.

“Cash transfers will commence and I will be visiting communities both in rural and urban areas to assess the situation on the ground,” he added.

Zim Morning Post was, however, inundated with calls from people who claimed not to have received anything from the Social Welfare Department as yet.

“The government should put in place mechanisms to ensure that it feeds its citizens because more than 75 percent are not on pay roll,” said one irate Kuwadzana Extension resident.

“Vari kudya mari dzemadonation vega. Hatina caring government muZimbabwe (The authorities and their sidekicks embezzle donor funds. We have no caring goverment in Zimbabwe),” he added.

Mnangagwa also said tobacco auction floors would be opened but be accordingly decentralised to provinces to enable social distancing.

“Tobacco auction floors will be decentralised, with dates for those bringing in their produce set to be announced soon,” Mnangagwa said.

In conclusion, Mnangagwa said another announcement on the way forward would be made after two weeks as Zimbabwe sought to comply with all WHO guidelines.


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