Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 8 June 2020 – Day 71

Introduction

Monday 8 June 2020 marked day 71 of the national lockdown declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has been in place since 30 March 2020. The Ministry of Health and Child Care reported an increase in the number of confirmed cases increased to two hundred and eighty-seven (287). The number of cumulative tests done stood at fifty-three thousand six hundred and sixty-eight (53 668). Of these, fifty-three thousand three hundred and eighty-one (53 381) were negative. The number of recoveries increased to forty-six (46) and the death toll remains at four (4). All the 5 new cases are reported to be people who recently returned from South Africa.

Methodology

Information contained in this report is derived from the following Forum Members: Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP); Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA); Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR); Counselling Services Unit (CSU); Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR); Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights); Excerpts from reports generated by The Herald and Bulawayo24 have also been incorporated into this report.

Emerging issues

General Updates

Since the pronouncement of the lockdown level 2, transport problems continue to plague the commuting public. Private commuter omnibuses were banned leaving ZUPCO buses and commuter omnibuses as the only public transport providers. Due to insufficient buses, Cabinet resolved that the carrying capacity of ZUPCO busses be increased to meet the demand for transport. It was reported that ZUPCO bus operators were carrying passengers at full capacity in Glen View in Harare, Dangamvura in Mutare, Mucheke in Masvingo and Cherima in Marondera. However, the commuting public has raised alarm that the busses are now crowded and that passengers are not being sanitised when boarding the busses. The commuting public and health professionals are also concerned about the defiance of COVID-19 measures on bus terminus and ranks in town and in suburbs. Queues for ZUPCO busses are always crowded and citizens do not observe social distance. In Glen View, it was reported that there were long queues of residents who were waiting for the ZUPCO buses.

In Kuwadzana in Harare, it was reported that people were going about their normal business defying the lockdown and not maintaining social distance. Scores of people besieged the streets whilst children were playing and running around in the streets. In Glen View, anti-riot police were reported to have confiscated 20 crates of alcohol at Mude Mude Business Centre in Glenview 7. It is alleged that the beerhall was selling alcohol through the back door.

In Mkoba Ward 10 in Gweru, community members raised allegations of politicisation of social welfare food aid. It was reported that individuals charged with compiling the food aid database are knowingly side-lining known MDC Alliance members from the list.

In Chipinge, it was business as usual with community members going about their normal business. Vendors and other informal traders were conducting their business without protective clothing or taking heed of social distance. Two bars namely Musomekwa and Zimunya were open from around 1 pm to 6 pm and several community members were spotted drinking alcohol and not observing social distancing.

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA) distributed COVID-19 sundries including masks, gloves, sanitisers, infra-Red thermometers, and COVID-19 information posters to informal workers and traders. The sundries were distributed in Bindura, Chitungwiza, Chiredzi, Triangle, Gutu, Hwange, Gwanda, Gokwe Center, Gokwe North, Harare, Marondera, Macheke, Mutare, Chipinge, Kadoma, Sanyati, Beitbridge, Kariba, Victoria Falls, Bindura, Chivhu, Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Binga, Plumtree, Lupane, Karoi, Masvingo, Tsholotsho, Chinhoyi, Guruve, Mt Darwin, Rusape, Chimanimani, Mashava, Zvishavane, Zhombe, Chegutu, Caledonia, Norton, Nkayi, Mhondoro. The distribution follows efforts to protect informal traders from COVID-19.

Abduction Update

Honourable Joana Mamombe together with MDC Alliance youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova will appear at Harare Magistrates Court on 9 June 2020 for the hearing of the state’s application to vary their bail conditions so that they surrender their passports. The investigating officers and prosecutors allege that the trio intends to escape Zimbabwe. The trio, charged for allegedly staging an anti-govt protest during the national lockdown, was granted ZWL1 000 bail on 27 May by Harare Magistrate Mateko, who ordered them to report once every fortnight to CID Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station.

Summary of violations

The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 8 June 2020.

Nature of ViolationNumber of VictimsLocation
Assault264Harare, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Wedza, Chinhoyi, Zaka, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Bindura, Nembudziya, Chiredzi, Marondera, Mutoko, Chivi, Bikita, Zvishavane, Mvurwi, Mutare, Marondera, Beitbridge, Domboshava, Wengezi
Attack on Journalists16Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Harare, Chiredzi, Masvingo, Beitbridge
Arrests435Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Mvurwi, Kwekwe
Malicious Damage to Property2Harare, Chitungwiza
Abductions3Harare

Conclusion

The Forum is concerned with the growing number of citizens defying the lockdown at a time when confirmed COVID-19 cases are on the increase. The Forum, therefore, urges community members to abide by lockdown regulations relating to social distance and the wearing of masks.

Transport challenges have become the greatest risk factor for the spread of COVID-19 within and across cities. The Forum would like to reiterate its calls for the government to facilitate adequate transportation for the commuting public.

The Forum also urges government to effectively manage isolation and quarantine centres with the number of infections on the rise. Without proper management, isolation centres may become the epicentre of infections.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)

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