A LEGISLATOR and a human rights activist have hauled President Emmerson Mnangagwa and some of his lieutenants to court seeking an order compelling government to provide safety nets and subsidies to vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe during the duration of the National Lockdown.
In an application filed at High Court on Wednesday 8 April 2020, Harare North constituency legislator Allan Norman Markham and Mfundo Mlilo, a human rights activist, want the court to order President Mnangagwa, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo and Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister July Moyo to enact some regulations that support the limitation of movement of people by providing subsidies in the form of food, cash handouts and water so as to meet the objectives of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, Public Heath, (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.
Markham and Mlilo, who are represented by Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said while it was just and equitable that Health and Child Care Minister Moyo issued regulations that limit the movement of people from their homes for 21 days as Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, Public Heath, (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020 has done, however without provision of safety nets, the aims of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, Public Heath, (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020, are rendered less effective and detrimental to the citizens’ right to life and health care.
Restricting movement without providing for safety nets, Markham and Mlilo argued, threatens the right to life and to health care to the extent that such is an abdication by the state on its duty to protect citizens in terms of the Constitution and international covenants and instruments as well as customary international law, which places a duty and responsibility on the state to protect its citizens from pandemics.
Markham and Mlilo protested that government has failed to pass regulations that provide distress relief and social protection provisions to vulnerable communities, informal traders, unemployed persons to support the implementation of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, Public Heath, (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020, hence the High Court should compel it to prescribe through a Statutory Instrument, the provision by government of food, monetary handouts and provision of water.
The legislator and activist want government to be ordered to pass regulations and enforce such regulations that provide for emergency relief in the form of door to door food handouts, cash handouts, water deliveries and other related provisions that sustain the livelihoods of affected communities during the National Lockdown period.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights