Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 14 June 2020 – Day 77

Introduction

Sunday 14 June 2020 marked day 77 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 to three hundred and eighty-three (383). The number of cumulative tests done stood at fifty-eight thousand four hundred and thirty-eight (58 438). Of these, fifty-eight thousand and fifty-five (58 055 were negative. The number of recoveries remained at fifty-one (51) 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.

General Updates

On 12 June, police officers arrested the Drax International local representative Delish Nguwaya on two (2) counts of fraud. He was remanded in custody pending bail application on 15 June 2020. Mr Nguwaya is alleged to have prejudiced the nation of USD60 million through misrepresentation.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education advised that they are in the process of developing emergency learning modules, television lessons and e-learning syllabus. Radio lessons for primary school pupils are set to start on 15 June. The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education has also challenged parents and guardians to assist children during to access the radio programs. The first scheduled lessons which are for primary school level will be aired from 15 June 2020 to 26 June 2020. Thereafter, another schedule will be provided.

In Bindura soldiers, police officers and municipal police were patrolling the streets enforcing the lockdown. It was reported that they were moving around and checking if shop owners have operational licences, face masks and thermometers. Shop owners who failed to produce the requirements paid ZWL100 bond to the law enforcement officers for each worker without the required protective clothing. Reports confirm that some of the law enforcement officers were patrolling in civilian clothes targeting individuals known for closing their shops late.

Since the pronouncement of the new regulations by the President on 12 June, which allowed churches to congregate, community members in Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo and parts of Harare attended different church services. However, most churches received a large number of congregants as compared to the recommended 50 people. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) published guidelines for worshipers during the COVID-19 lockdown. Among the guidelines, the ZCC recommended that where possible, congregants should maintain a distance of 1.5 to 2 metres between congregants and to congregate in open spaces.

In Mutare, Diamond FM hosted a roadshow at Marange Growth Point. It was reported that scores of people attended the event, however, the people were not exercising social distance and most of them did not have face masks.

Assaults

In Kuwadzana in Harare, seven (7) people were assaulted at an illicit bar known as Mambokadzi on 19 June around 9 pm. It was reported that police officers raided the illicit bar after receiving tipoffs from members of the public. Police officers assaulted patrons indiscriminately with baton sticks.

Summary of violations

The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 14 June 2020.

Nature of ViolationNumber of VictimsLocation
Assault273Harare, 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, Murwi, Kwekwe
Malicious Damage to Property2Harare, Chitungwiza
Abductions3Harare

Court Update

The application for an interdict filed by the Habakkuk Trust against the Clerk of Parliament and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs from holding public hearings in Bulawayo concerning the proposed Constitutional Amendment No.2 Bill has been set down for hearing on 15 June 2020. Justice Nokuthula Moyo will preside over the urgent application. Another application filed against the Speaker of Parliament, the President of the Senate and the Attorney General filed by Alice Kuvheya and the Chitungwiza and Manyame Residents Association has been set down for hearing on Tuesday 16 June 2020 before Justice David Mangota.

Conclusion

The Forum is concerned with the growing number of COVID-19 confirmed cases at the backdrop of the reopening of public spaces including schools, churches and informal trading. The Forum urges the government to adequately prepare for the reopening of public spaces to avoid the spread of the pandemic.

The Forum is also concerned with the plans by Parliament to conduct public hearings during the current context where public gatherings are discouraged and a national lockdown is in force. Conducting public hearings during this time would greatly hamper the public’s participation and defeat the purpose of the hearings. The Forum therefore eagerly awaits the courts’ determination of the applications before the High Court in Harare and Bulawayo in respect of this issue.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)

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