Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 22 June 2020 – Day 85

Introduction
Monday 22 June 2020 marked day 85 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 five hundred and twelve (512). The number of cumulative tests done stood at sixty-three thousand three hundred and forty-seven (63 347). Of these, sixty-two thousand eight hundred and thirty-five (62 835) were negative. The number of recoveries remained at sixty-three (63) and the death toll is now at six (6). 

Methodology
Information contained in this report is derived from the following Forum Members:

  • Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
  • Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
  • Counselling Services Unit (CSU)
  • Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)

General Updates
Teachers under the ambit of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) took to the streets to protest against low salaries. Security forces manning roads into Masvingo CBD were strictly vetting exemption letters and turning back commuters. Commuters in ZUPCO buses were also turned back.

In Mt Darwin, ZANU PF youth chairperson Ranganai Horasi convened a meeting in Tabeki village threatening retribution to all villagers who rejected the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Bill during public hearings. He advised people that the ruling party was aware of individuals who were speaking against the Bill and will ensure that the culprits are dealt with accordingly. He reportedly mentioned Tafadzwa Chipinga as one of the people who were actively participating and speaking against the Bill. He also promised that many people will be punished, claiming that ZANU PF members were alert and following all the proceedings.

In Muzvezve, villagers, teachers and various government local departmental representative convened at Kundai Railway Primary School to launch a local COVID-19 response committee. The meeting was also meant to sensitize villagers on COVID-19 and to share best practises. The meeting was chaired by the ZANU PF District Chairperson Mrs Muzondo. Physical distancing was observed during the meeting.
Secretary for Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Thokozile Chitepo has advised that $4.8 million has been disbursed from the $17 million set aside by the government for COVID-19 for the youth relief fund. Dr Chitepo, who was giving oral evidence before Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation also advised that one thousand one hundred and fifty-nine (1 159) youths had been successful out of five thousand (5 000) applicants.

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Ms Monica Mutsvangwa advised Parliament that Zimbabwe has temporarily closed its consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The officials who tested positive had been to Limpopo and Lindela Detention Centre to screen and assist Zimbabweans who were being repatriated home. The total number of recorded positive cases among consulate staff and dependants now stands at six (6). The Minister said two of those who tested positive had been isolated at a lodge away from their families.

The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Amon Murwira advised that universities and colleges are set to reopen on 13 July. Professor Murwira expressed worry over the country’s escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases but remained confident over government strategies to curb the spread of the disease. The Minister advised Parliament that students would be safe after the government has taken steps to ensure masks and sanitisers were accessible to learners. He was quick to say the government would not hesitate to close the institutions again if problems arose.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity Mr Nick Mangwana advised that there were one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three (1 883) people in quarantine centres across the country as at 19 June 2020. Communicating through his twitter page, Mr Mangwana advised thast the number of females in quarantine centres is one thousand and twenty-five (125) whilst male returnees are eight hundred and fifty-eight (858). Among the returnees, one hundred and thirty-six (136) are children.

Arrests
Police arrested Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Vice President Talent Madava and Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) chairperson Lionel Shayahama for allegedly standing in solidarity with MDC Alliance Member of Parliament Joana Mamombe and Youth Assembly leaders Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova. The duo was arrested together with six (6) other CUT students.  They were all charged for contravening section 37(1) of the Criminal Code.

ARTUZ Masvingo Province Secretary for Gender, Sheilla Chirisimhunu was arrested by police officers for taking part in a protest against low salaries. Chirisimunhu was charged with participating in a gathering with intent to commit public violence, breaches of peace, bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of Criminal Code and section 7(5) of MOPA. It was reported that one female police officer also assaulted Chisirimunhu. Chisirimunhu is expected to appear at Masvingo Magistrates Court on 23 June for bail hearing.

Summary of violations
The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 22 June 2020.

Nature of ViolationNumber of VictimsLocation
Assault278Harare, 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
Arrests476Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Murwi, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi
Malicious Damage to Property2Harare, Chitungwiza
Abductions3Harare

Conclusion
The Forum is concerned by the rising numbers of arrests by government of citizens and activists.  Even though the country is under level 2 national lockdown, citizens still retain the right to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and the right to protest.   The Forum therefore reminds government to respect the Constitution and the rights protected therein.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)

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