Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 9 June 2020 – Day 72

Introduction

Tuesday 9 June 2020 marked day 72 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 three hundred and fourteen (314). The number of cumulative tests done stood at fifty-four thousand five hundred and thirty-five (54 535). Of these, fifty-four thousand two hundred and twenty-one (54 221) were negative. The number of recoveries increased to forty-six (46) and the death toll remains at four (4).

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

It was reported that at Nketa Health Centre in Bulawayo, patients were turned away due to shortages of nurses and health practitioners. Patients have been constantly turned back at the health centre owing to the shortage of health practitioners since the beginning of the lockdown. Health practitioners have cited the lack of personal protective clothing as the major reason for not attending to patients.

In Tsholotsho, it was reported that there is an influx of border jumpers in the area. It was reported that border jumpers have been sneaking into the country from Bostwana and South Africa through undesignated entry points to avoid the 21 day mandatory quarantine.

The Embassy of Zimbabwe in Abu Dhabi issued a statement on 8 June advising that Ethiopian Airlines has agreed to repatriate Zimbabweans stranded in the United Arab Emirates. The flight is expected to depart for Zimbabwe on 13 June 2020. The statement further advised that all Zimbabwean nationals will be subject to a 21-day mandatory quarantine either in private or government quarantine centres.

In Masvingo, it was reported that vendors have moved back to their usual vending cites throughout the city. Vendors were observed at Chitima market and pavements at major shopping centres throughout the city including Majange, Rujeko and Siski shopping centres. It was also reported that some of the bars have resorted to sellig alcohol through the back door beyond the stipulated opening time for businesses. At Rujeko and Majange shopping centres, patrons were seen sitting at the back of the shops after having purchased alcohol through the back door.

In Chipinge town centre, it was reported that illegal foreign currency dealers have flooded street corners despite the heavy police and military presence in the town. It was allaged that the illigal foreign currency dealers have resrted to paying lawenforcement officers on patrol USD10 bribes per day to allow them to operate.

Chief Coordinator of the National Response to COVID-19 Dr Agnes Mahomva addressed Cabinet and indicated that security will be improved at quarantine centres to stop returnees from escaping. Dr Mahomva further indicated that part of the new measures to avoid further escapes by returnees include the surrendering of travel documents by returnees. Dr Mahomva also called upon the Ministries of Health and Child Care, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, and of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, to assist in ensuring that quarantine facilities have maximum security.

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa has advised that the start of the phased reopening of primary and secondary schools has been set for Tuesday 28 July to allow the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to engage Treasury and other stakeholders to mobilise for the provision of adequate resources. Senator Mutsvangwa also advised that the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) June examinations will still run from June 29 to July 22. This means that only Form Six, Form Four and Grade Seven classes will resume at the end of July with Lower Six, Form Three and Grade 6 pupils coming in three weeks later. Other pupils will move back into their classrooms in three more phases.

Government cancelled a USD60 million contract for the supply of test kits and other COVID-19 sundries awarded to Drax International. Drax has been paid close to USD1 million for COVID-19 personal protective equipment supplied to NatPharm. In a letter addressed to NatPharm Managing Director Flora Nancy Sifeku, Ministry of Health and Chief Care Acting Secretary Gibson Mhlanga directed the cancellation of all contracts for the supply and delivery of medicines and surgical sundries by Drax. This comes after investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono exposed the fraudulent contracting of Drax International without the necessary tender process being followed.

Abduction Update

Honourable Joana Mamombe together with MDC Alliance youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova appeared 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. Magistrate Muchuchuti ordered the trio to surrender their passports to the court to allay the State’s fears that the trio could escape from Zimbabwe.

Arrests

In Masvingo, nine (9) MDC Alliance district members were arrested and detained at Masvingo Police Station were they were charged with violating the lockdown regulations. The nine (9), Mundoga Manners, Kudakwashe Matavire, Elias Munosiyei, Tizirai Nhenga, Chongore Johannes, Dziva Timitia, Tsengamhare, Ngorima Joel and Russel Mudoro were all released after paying a fine of ZWL600 each.

Summary of violations
The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 9 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
Arrests444Masvingo, 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 COVID-19 confirmed cases at the backdrop of the reopening of schools and tertiary institutions. The Forum urges government to adequately prepare for the reopening of schools to avoid the spread of the pandemic within academic institutions.

The Forum also urges community members to abide by lockdown regulations relating to social distance and the wearing of masks.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)

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